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Internet Safety Day highlights dangers of cyberbullying

Sarah Munoz, Staff Reporter

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“In schools where there are anti-bullying programs, bullying is reduced by 50%,” the Stop Bullying Foundation reports.

Wednesday, November 13, RB students participated in Internet Safety Day, part of an anti-bullying program integrated with Character Counts.  The program has teachers and speakers talking to RB students and informing them about the tragedies, effects, and consequences of cyberbullying.  The RB web site also has an anonymous link for reporting bullying.

Freshman Serenity Griggs is very aware of what cyberbullying is.  While she has never been bullied herself, she has been told stories from her friends from either being bullied or seeing someone being bullied on the social media site, Ask.fm.  Griggs believes that bullying programs in school, like RB’s Internet Safety Day, are very informational and that schools should continue to educate students on the topic.  Griggs chooses now to have a Facebook page herself, but also has no restrictions at home on what social networking sites she can visit.  She did say she has an online curfew of 9 o’clock.  Even without Facebook, Griggs said she spends a lengthy amount of time each night on social networking sites.

Junior Kennedy Misterrta believes that there are basically no point to the presentations that schools put on every year because no one pays attention anyway. She also believes that people continue to get bullied anyways and there’s no difference with the presentations. Kennedy in her lifetime has been bullied. When asked if she went to a trusted adult or school official, she said that she just ignored it. Most children ignore the fact that their being bullied but actually it almost never goes away. Luckily it went away for Kennedy. Kennedy does not have any restrictions on how long she spends on the Internet. She reports that she spends around 9 to 10 hours on social media. She stays connected to a social site during and after school.

Junior Marina Ventura unfortunately has also been bullied. When Ventura was bullied it was so severe that when she got her parents involved.  They contacted the school and then the school decided to call the police. Eventually the problems were resolved but nonetheless the experience was traumatic.  On average Ventura spends at least 20 hours on social media and she has no restrictions. Ventura, like Griggs, chooses not to have a Facebook.

Sometimes the consequences of bullying can be severe.  The Stop Bullying Foundation reports that 30% of students who said they had been bullied nationally also said they had brought a weapon to school at some time.

Griggs, Mistertta, and Ventura were all mortified by that statistic.  They indicated that they don’t feel safe walking down RB’s halls knowing that statistic.  Each one indicated that they feel like there really needs to be something done about the bullying epidemic in our schools.

Laws exist in Illinois and nationally to protect students from cyberbullying.  Still, Illinois is listed as one of the top five worst states when it comes to bullying.  According to Stop Bullying Now, 160,000 students stay home from school every day due to bullying.

Additional information on cyberbullying can be found at the Illinois Attorney General’s web site.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Internet Safety Day highlights dangers of cyberbullying