Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle advises students on online safety

Tweddle: Cyber bullying 'was really hurtful'

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Today we went to the London offices of Microsoft for Safer Internet Day and we learned about keeping safe online and how to improve the safety on social media.

The theme of the day was 'let's create a better internet together'. We attended a Question & Answer session that told us about young people's points of view on keeping safe online.

The panel was made up of 14 and 15-year old students who came from two different schools and talked about how primary school children should be able to see helpful e-safety posters.

They also suggested having talks from sixth formers or older secondary school students about internet safety rather than adults. This is because you get lots of talks about e-safety from adults so it's good to get told about it from someone closer to your age.

One of the speakers was the retired Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, who had been previously bullied online via Twitter after appearing on Sky Sports.

Start Quote

The one big (piece of) advice - don't ever reply back to an abusive message online, just speak to an adult”

End Quote Beth Tweddle

She told us: "I've been online since 2009 and 99% of the time it is usually a very positive experience but unfortunately every now and again you do get a negative tweet, whether it's what you look like or something about what I do as a job with my gymnastics - so that can be quite hurtful to read.

"If you do get that abusive message just ignore it and and my advice for someone that is really struggling with bullying, especially online, is to speak to someone.

"The one big (piece of) advice - don't ever reply back to them online, just speak to an adult."

We were also hoping to meet culture secretary Maria Miller to ask her about what the government could do about being safe online but she couldn't attend because of flooding in her constituency of Basingstoke.

Instead, one of her ministers Helen Grant came and spoke to the meeting. She said: "It's not about one person, it's about everyone working together."

We learned from the panel that internet service providers were taking views from younger people and putting that forward into their decisions rather than just taking an adult's view.

The most enjoyable part of the day was when we interviewed Beth Tweddle because she was an Olympic gymnast and she was no ordinary person.

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