Cyber Bullying On the Rise in Richmond - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

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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