School Project Aimed At Squashing Cyber Bullying
Survey: 58% Of Girls, 42% Of Boys Familiar With Cyber Bullying
Last Updated: 992 days ago
Some central Indiana high school students are pushing to delete cyber bullying after discovering some shocking statistics about their own classmates.Tiger X Club at Lebanon High School circulated a survey asking 1,050 students if they had received or sent a classmate a harassing e-mail or text message, 6News' Stacia Matthews reported.Teachers and students said they were shocked by the results -- 58 percent of girls admitted they received rumors and insults about other students, while 42 percent of boys acknowledged they received sexually explicit pictures."I didn't think it was a big deal and none of the people in my group thought it was big deal," said Abbie Sunier, the group's president. "But it is more people than we thought, especially girls. Girls did more cyber bullying with words, and boys did it with pictures."Jackie McNutt, an EMT who runs the school's clinic, said she sees the pain among bullied students."I see kids with panic attacks, eating disorders, headaches, migraines, emotional distress," she said.The survey suggests that once the bullying online or on a cell phone begins, it's easy for other students to join in, creating momentum."Most of them realize how hurtful it is and that's why they do it, because it is hurtful," Sunier said. "But (do they realize) how dangerous it can be? No. You're in high school. You're invincible. We don't get hurt."But experts said that's not always the reality.In a case that grabbed national headlines, Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old girl from Massachusetts, committed suicide after relentless online bullying. Six students have been charged in connection with her death."In extreme cases, kids hurt themselves or another person if they don't get their story told or they don't reach out to somebody," said Dr. Beth Malcom with St. Vincent Stress Center. "They just don't have the skills to cope."Lebanon High School Principal Kevin O'Rourke said education about cyber bullying is especially important now that most teens own a cell phone and a computer."It's important to understand the parameters, the dangers and the responsibility that go along with that," he said.The students said they want to make their community aware of the consequences of cyber bullying to prevent it from being taken to the next level."To lose someone in a school this small would be heartbreaking," Sunier said. "It would hurt."The school project has caught the attention of a local judge, who is also a state lawmaker, and now is reaching a larger audience as part of a documentary to be shown to middle and high school students across the country. 6News will have a series of stories this week addressing the issue of bullying among children. We will host a Call 6 phone bank with experts on hand to answer your questions about bullying on Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m.