Cyber Bullying On the Rise in Richmond

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RICHMOND – 12-year-old Rebecca
Sedwick killed herself in September after she was apparently terrorized by as
many as 15 girls through online message boards and texts
.

Earlier this year an
anonymous twitter account popped up called RVA Burn Book, where vulgar and embarrassing
comments were posted about several students in chesterfield.

Delegate Jennifer McClellan
passed an anti-bullying bill last year, requiring schools to crack down and
punish those cyber bullying.

Recently Facebook changed
its policy allowing kids between 13 and 17 to make their posts and pictures
public
, reversing a long-standing policy preventing teens from sharing photos
and comments beyond their friends.

McClellan says she's
worried it could lead to even more cyber bullying.

“When people are
anonymous, they tend to be more vicious because they think there are no
consequences,” she says. “It's that much more important for parents to pay
attention to what their kids are doing, if your child is on Facebook, you need
to be on Facebook, you need to be their friend and you need to monitor what
they're doing.”

Some experts say the
problem starts at an early age with more kids spending time on computers and
tablets.

Family educator Susan
Brown says it's important to unplug.

“What they're not doing
when they're on screens is playing with others, talking to others, learning
about feelings,” she says. “We need to turn off all these electronics and spend
more time interacting.”

Currently cyber bullying
isn't against the law but McClellan says it's worth asking whether it should
be.

 

Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of
Richmond

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