Efforts to combat growing online bullying problem - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Efforts to combat growing online bullying problem

Area parents are asking for help with teen bullying as it's becoming worse with social media. More area high school students are becoming depressed and isolated as they're being bullied online. 

David Boaz is a Prevention Educator with Family Support Services. He says, "The reaction is much stronger to being bullied online than it is to being pushed in the hallway, and the reason is everyone sees it. Kids want to fit in." 

Boaz says just a few years ago students were being targeted three times a day and could escape bullying once they were out of school. But now they're being targeted as many as 20 times a day because technology is mobile. 

Prevention educators say it can affect your reputation, being hired for a job, or admitted to a school. Boaz says, "An individual made a mistake, got drunk at a party. And the next morning, there was a picture of him online with undesirable things written on his face. And that picture was all over the web. Everyone knows about the mistake he made."

And the problem is harder for parents to control now. Boaz says, "The younger kids are now using Instagram and other social media outlets.So it's harder also for adults to monitor these things because they're getting away from what the adults are using online."

Boaz says  teachers have very little control over the issue since they cannot discipline kids for cyber bullying. Boaz says, "It's hard to prove that it actually occurred at school. So the teachers are given less control over this situation and the kids are left to deal with it on their own."

Family Support Services says they're holding double the number of presentations at area schools this year compared to last year to help with this growing problem. 
A campaign was started this year at Tascosa High School, which is in the works to expand to other schools next year.

Family Support Services says teachers can detect bullying if they see that good students are not showing up to class. And parents, if their child is showing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 


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