Facebook used to help combat "cyber-bullying"

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

DENISON, TX-Technology, including social networking sites, provide all new ways for bullies to pick on other kids. In fact, one new study shows more than half of teens and young adults have been harrassed online. But now, it's also being used to promote awareness of bullying and help put an end to the problem.
Fifty-six percent of teens and young adults have been bullied online, according to a poll by the Associated Press with MTV. Now, Facebook released an app to raise awareness on this on-going problem called "Stop Bullying: Speak Up." I spoke with a school counselor about what's considered bullying and if this app will help keep numbers down.

"It makes me really mad, you know? For the first part, you shouldn't be saying bad things to anybody, but you know, more of it goes on behind the scenes in like Facebook and stuff."

Denison High School Junior, Jesse Sloan said he has been harrassed on Facebook.

"Oh yes, I mean, I think everybody has, even if you're the most popular or not the most popular. You know, everybody at least there's one time somebody says something bad about you," he said.

Denison High School counselor, Carrie Boettger said technology provides bullies another way to harass their peers, sometimes without being identified.

"I think it just enabled kids to feel more free to say things, even if they're hurtful because they will say things in a text that they're not going to say to their face," she said.

She also said bullying doesn't have to be a violent act. It can be verbal abuse, through text, the web or in person. Either way, Boettger said the damage is still the same.

"Kids just don't understand it has the same effect and it can be as damaging to the student as if they're being beat up," she said.

And it will keep getting worse.

"It's just growing with the influx of every kid has a cell phone. So, since we've come to a society where every kid has a cell phone, it's going to continue to be a problem," she said.

Pledges like "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" hope to raise awareness about bullying while encouraging kids and adults to stop it. And Boettger thinks they could help keep numbers down along with school programs like Rachel's Challenge.

"I do, and I feel that our whole culture here in Denison High School is a better culture and kids feel safer and more comfortable that they're not going to be bullied."

Sloan hopes the abuse will stop.

"I just hope, you know, in the future that bullying and things on Facebook will cut down because I mean it can tear a person's life up," he said.

Boettger also encourages parents to talk to their kids about bullying and web behavior.

You can take the "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" pledge on Facebook.

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