Cyberbullying a Growing Problem for Kids

Published 06/11 2014 05:35PM

Updated 06/11 2014 09:54PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It's been a problem for years but now a new study reveals cyberbullying among kids is on the rise.

With school out for the summer, many kids have extra time outside of the classroom which means extra time spent online. A recent study done by the internet security company McAfee shows more kids are using the internet to bully one another.

"It's a lot easier for young folks to say something hurtful when they don't have to look them in the eye," stated Robin Hammond, director of St. Joseph Youth Alliance.

According to the study, most bullying is over appearance followed by race, religion and sexual orientation. Hammond says it's easier to bully online since they're able to hide behind the computer. She says more parents should monitor what they're kids are doing when surfing online.

"Just as we want to teach our kids to drive a car responsibly and respectfully, I think we need to make sure we teach our kids to use social media the same way," added Hammond.

Bobbie Cole, a mother of five, says she not only monitors her kids online but she has notifications sent to her every time her kids are online. Cole says keeping her teenage daughter safe is her responsibility, even if that means not having a happy teen.

"They need to have their privacy but be monitored. Not only cyberbullying but there's people out there that will get them. The boogie monster does live out there somewhere," said Cole.

The St. Joseph School District has a zero tolerance for bullying.

Dr. Jake long, says the district does block media websites from school computers but says it's just as easy for kids to use a personal phone.

He says school leaders spend countless hours teaching kids to be respectful of others.

"Teaching those core values in our kids and how to treat people because in the end that's what it comes down to and that's what we want to focus on," said Long.

Still, many believe it starts at home. Cole says she focus's on teaching her kids to ignore the negative.

"Even if everybody doesn't see it, that child feels like everybody in the world knows their down faults. Guess what, everybody has them and as a parents that's hard to teach," added Cole.

The study also found that 30% of kids give out their phone number online while 14% give their home address.

To learn more about how to prevent cyberbullying, click here.

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