Cyberbullying has tragically claimed another young victim recently. Rebecca Sedwick of Florida, age 12, was bullied online and it drove her to suicide. There may have been 17 girls who had been ganging up on Rebecca with two of the girls causing the worst of the abuse.
Apparently the bullying started after a 14 year-old girl began dating a boy that Rebecca had dated earlier. Rebecca was called names, and beaten up by the 12 year old girl who used to be Rebecca's best friend.
Rebecca had cut her wrists last December. She said that she'd been pushed around at school and threatened by another girl who wanted to fight her. In an attempt to protect Rebecca, her mother started homeschooling her. This fall she entered a new school but online the bullying continued.
Rebecca finally could take no more and climbed a tower at a concrete plant and threw herself off, dying on Sept. 9, 2013.
The investigation after Rebecca's death revealed that she had written in her diary about being very depressed about what she was contending with. She'd changed a screen name to "That Dead Girl" and had sent a message to a friend saying, "I'm jumping."
A 12 year-old and a 14 year-old girl who allegedly bullied Rebecca were charged with third-degree felony aggravated stalking and were released to their parents. Because neither girl had any previous criminal history it is uncertain as to whether or not either of them will end up in juvenile detention. Neither of the girls has shown remorse since Rebecca took her life.
If the parents of the alleged bullies are proven to have known about what was happening, they may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to Orlando attorney David Hill. But it's hard to bring charges in a case like this, said New Jersey lawyer Parry Aftab, partially because of laws concerning free speech.
The American Psychological Association (APA) says that the incidence of cyberbullying of teens and preteens has risen to high levels in the last few years. The Second Youth Internet Safety Survey reported that most of them are spending an increased amount of time online talking with each other, and about each other.