Swindon teen acts as ‘cyber mentor’ to stop bullying [ BBC News, 25/2/2011]

Carney Bonner
Swindon teenager Carney Bonner is helping to fight cyber-bullying

A teenager from Swindon is on a mission to help fight cyber-bullying.

Carney Bonner, 17, from Redhouse is currently being trained as a “cyber mentor” for the charity Beatbullying.org.

His role will take the form of an online agony uncle to help youngsters who are being bullied via social networking sites such as Facebook.

Carney was once himself a victim of cyberbullying, and the experience led him to self-harm.

He said: “I kept getting messages on a social networking site and thought at first it was just a joke and I’d brush it off.

“But it carried on and it started affecting me. I started to self-harm and lost my self-confidence and my self-esteem.

“I went from someone who was quite loud and talkative, to someone who was quiet.”

Safety online

In January, Carney launched Swindon’s first ever Cyber Safety Week as part of his Keeping It Safe Online campaign for Channel 4’s Battlefront initiative.

Carney’s campaign saw him and his Keeping It Safe Online team of Swindon teenagers visit three schools to take over PHSE lessons to talk about the issues that young people face online every day.

The focus was particularly on cyberbullying and safety on social networking sites such as MSN, Facebook and Twitter.


As a result of his local campaign, Carney was chosen as Swindon’s first cyber mentor by the Beatbullying.org charity.

On Friday 25 February, Carney received training at Google headquarters in London.

“If a young person is being bullied online and needs help, then I’ll be that first point of contact,” Carney said.

“If a problem is just too extreme then we refer them to a counsellor.”

To find out more about the project, visit the Cyber Mentors website.