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Online bullying becomes increasing problem for students
For many of us growing up, the school bully was only a problem on the playground, but with the rise of social networking and the accessibility of the internet, bullying is becoming a problem at home too.
In her in-depth report "The Threat of Bullying" Rachel Lake takes a deeper look into cyber bullying and what local schools are doing about it.
Even the federal government is getting involved. The government is taking steps to prevent all types of bullying.
Last week, schools nationwide received guidelines on how to address bullying and harassment. But the problem is administrators can only control what happens in school and not at home in front of the computer.
Megan Meier, Phoebe Prince and Rachael Neblett - all committed suicide after being bullied online or in person.
"It's easier to bully someone online. You can do it 24/7 and you don't have to face the victim. You can say whatever you want," said Dr. Stephanie Furrer.
Psychology Professor Stephanie Furrer warns against assuming that bullying is the sole reason behind one's suicide. But it's certainly a factor due to the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, along with text messaging and other technology.
"And there's nobody to stick up for the victim so that might be why individuals move to cyber bullying versus face to face bullying," said Furrer.
A survey of 1500 students in grades four through eight showed that nearly half were bullied online at least once. That's enough to fill an entire auditorium.
"It's not something to be ashamed of, bullying does happen at times but we need to make sure we address it and hit it head on," said HMS Principal Josh Cumpston.
At Hastings Middle School, counselors and computer teachers educate students on the dangers of cyber bullying. And if bullying does occur in any form, then the bully is not only punished but also learns the impact of his or her actions.
"We're trying to teach them how to treat others and to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself," said Cumpston.
It is a message that's related in a video created by students last year to combat bullying.
"It's kids teaching kids and really stepping up and being leaders in that aspect of this is our school we're not going to allow those kinds of behaviors," said Cumpston.
Behavior that's turning into a threat beyond school hallways.
Principal Josh Cumpston encourages parents to keep an open line of communication with their children. He says to take note if your child avoids Facebook, e–mail or any other social network.
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