PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Cyberbullying was a hot topic today at the University of Pennsylvania, at a conference put together by the Anti-Defamation League.
High school students from throughout the region gathered in small groups (above) to swap cyberbullying war stories.
“We have sexting,” said one boy. “Like, girls send you photos and you show everyone, forwarding them to your friends.”
They also heard from a cyberbully warrior. Tina Meier has been on a crusade since 2007, crisscrossing the country and telling her story of losing a daughter to suicide after she was bullied on Myspace (see related story).
Meier says new media has opened a vast new frontier.
“It can be the laughing, the name-calling, tripping someone in the hallway,” she says, “but now it is texting, ‘Oh my gosh, did you see Joe was just tripped, knocked his books all over the ground? Ha ha, how funny that was.’ Or videotaping it, or talking about the rumour of some boy breaking up with the other girl in front of everybody.”
And with new technology, she says, come new challenges to an age-old problem:
“We teach them to, one, not give their passwords out; to talk to a trusted adult when they encounter any type of bullying or cyberbullying; to make sure that they don’t put personal information out there, that they keep it private, not add people that they don’t know. So we try to get them to start thinking in those terms.”
Meier says Facebook and Twitter have opened a vast new bullying frontier.
Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060