Insults and threats followed 15-year-old Phoebe Prince almost from her first day at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts. Officials say the Irish immigrant was targeted in the halls, library and in vicious text messages…
Phoebe reached her breaking point and hanged herself in January after a day that officials say included being hounded with slurs and pelted with a beverage container on her way home from school.
Now, nine teenagers face charges in what a prosecutor called “unrelenting” bullying; two boys have been charged with statutory rape, and a clique of girls have been charged with stalking, criminal harassment and violating Phoebe’s civil rights.
This 2007 report (PDF) by the Pew Internet and American Life Project states:
About one third (32%) of all teenagers who use the internet say they have been targets of a range of annoying and potentially menacing online activities – such as receiving threatening messages; having their private emails or text messages forwarded without consent; having an embarrassing picture posted without permission; or having rumors about them spread online.
The Reno Gazette Journal, citing a recent U. S. Department of Justice-funded study, reports that cyberbullying has become more prevalent than physical bullying.