Bay Area Watchdog Group Targets Cyberbullying In Back-To-School Campaign

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A Bay Area-based nonprofit kicks off a national campaign Monday against cyberbullying – a form of online harassment believed to be happening more now than ever before, especially in social media.

“We found that in our research, one-third of kids have been victims of cyberbullying,” warned Colby Zintl with Common Sense Media. “The other two-thirds don’t have the tools or the skills to learn how to stop it when they see it happening.”

Cyberbullying, she warned, often morphs from playground taunts to cruel, hateful rhetoric online – or vice versa.

“They would say mean things, like, about a kid and then what happens is other kids either gang up on them or they stand by and they watch this poor kid get, you know, verbally attacked over a social media network.”

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

Common Sense Media is timing its new cyberbullying awareness campaign to coincide with the start of the new school year.

“Kids are getting settled in their back-to-school routine and a lot of them are making new friends on Facebook and other social media networks. Or, they’re connecting with new people by e-mail,” she reasoned.

Just as it’s easy to connect with new friends online, Zintl recommends disconnecting from the bullies.

“The thing that we know about cyberbullies is most of what they do is because they want attention. So by de-friending them, you are giving your child the power to stand up to that cyberbully.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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