Cyber bullies can reach victims away from school

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In 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier opened a MySpace account. She was soon inundated with messages from a boy named Josh Evans, who told her she was pretty and gave her other compliments. One day, Josh suddenly turned mean and told her explicit things, and Megan gave her share of rudeness back.

That same day, she committed suicide. It was later alleged that a neighboring mother was "Josh". The highly publicized case occurred in Montana.

"To think that an adult can harass and bully a child, that is scary," said Jeanine Dorsey, a guidance counselor at Greenbrier High School.

She said Megan's parents should have been involved to head off trouble.

"Parents need to be checking on the computer to see what is being sent," Ms. Dorsey said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Injury Center reports that victims of cyber bullying are more likely to get into trouble in school, skip school, experience emotional problems such as depression and feel more unsafe in schools. This bullying also adds to problems that the kids have in school, because 64 percent of kids who are bullied online are also bullied at school.

"Any kind of bullying causes kids to not feel safe," Ms. Dorsey said. "At least, when it is just at school it disappears when you come home. But when it's through text messaging and online bullying, it is everywhere, and nowhere is safe."

Some teens have some ideas on what to do if you are being bullied.

"If you are being bullied in something like a chat room, just exit out," said Sarah Cleric, 15, a sophomore at Greenbrier High School.

Brian Underwood, 15, also a sophomore at Greenbrier, said it's horrible that someone would bully someone online.

"They should just ignore it and block the person that's sending it," he said.

John Klement is a sophomore at Greenbrier High School.


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