According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, about a third of teens using the Internet say they have been bullied online. Social networking websites like Facebook are common places where cyberbulying takes place.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, about a third of teens using the Internet say they have been bullied online. Social networking websites like Facebook are common places where cyberbulying takes place.

Teens’ use of  Web to bully others leaves students perplexed

By Marisa Patwa

When senior Audrey Plant discovered a cruel blog post made about her by a fellow classmate, she was shocked. The blog criticized her Filipino skin as “orange,” among other things. She had read cases about cyberbullying and had seen movies featuring it, but never did she think she would be a target.“I couldn’t hold it in any longer after I found the blog,” Plant said. “I started to cry and I cried for the entire day.”

According to a report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, about a third of all teens using the Internet say they have been bullied online—39 percent of which have been harrassed through social networks such as Facebook.

“I couldn’t hold it in any longer after I found the blog,” Plant said. “I started to cry and I cried for the entire day.”

According to a report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, about a third of all teens using the Internet say they have been bullied online—39 percent of which have been harrassed through social networks such as Facebook.

This increase in cyberbullying has been noted by sophomore Ryan Fry.

I have seen multiple accounts of hatred towards others on Facebook through photos, comments and groups,” Fry said. “This is not what Facebook and other social sites were made to do, yet people take advantage of being able to type in anything they want to.”

Although Plant said she thinks cyberbullying is unthinkable, she said she believes people do it because they have nothing better to do.

“After experiencing a day like I had, I think that it is the worst thing someone could do behind one’s back,” Plant said. “I wasn’t able to defend myself on the Internet.”

Along with Plant, sophomore Chris Hemmingsen was also targeted by cyberbullies. A fair amount of students joined the Facebook group made about him before Hemmingsen reported it to Facebook administrators and it was shut down—but the damage was already done.

Hemmingsen decided to leave UAHS and enroll in St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus, where he said he believes people will no longer judge him.

Though both Hemmingsen and Plant have dealt with their cyberbullying, some cases  across the nation have led teens to commit suicide.

According to the Jan. 24. story “The Untouchable Mean Girls,” by Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, 15-year-old  Phoebe Prince commited suicide after being continuously bullied at school and online. Her bullies were suspended from school, but they continued to post disparaging remarks on Prince’s memorial page on Facebook, which were then immediately removed.

Fry said he believes cyberbullying is becoming more prominent because the bully is able to put someone down without having to deal with a confrontation.

“They can just hide behind their computer, because it’s easier to do [on the Internet] than in person,” Fry said.

Although Plant’s parents, friends and teachers have been her support system in dealing with her cyberbully, she said she still believes the blogger does not understand the extent of the damage done.

“This bully will never understand what they have done until they have to go through what I had to,” Plant said. “When they experience the violation and hurtful comments, maybe then will they understand.”

There are a number of ways to stop the cycle of abuse and create a safe place for communication online. The National Crime Prevention’s website lists several ways to stop cyberbullying. These include: refusing to spread hurtful messages online, blocking all forms of communication with any cyberbullies, reporting cyberbullying to either the website on which it is occurring or to a trusted adult, as well as raising awareness of cyberbullying.

Plant said she now has a new outlook on cyberbullying and would never accept a request for a hateful group or a demeaning site about one of her classmates, especially after having gone through it herself.

“Cyberbullying fuels people’s insecurities and tries to break down people’s self-esteem,” Plant said. “Teens who do that are insecure about themselves and need a reality check.”

Plant said she believes that anyone who purposely tries to make another human feel worthless through cyberbullying will receive a special visit from Karma, because as the popular adage warns: What goes around comes around.