Meeting set to address cyberbullying

June 2 2008

With bullying moving beyond hallways and classrooms, Indiana State University’s Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Chances for Youth are sponsoring a meeting about cyberbullying.

The meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. June 12 at Booker T. Washington Community Center, located at 1101 S. 13th St.

No longer is bullying among youth whispered rumors in a hallway or a shove at a bus stop. Instead, they too have hit cyberspace.

“Cyberbullying is exerting your power through an electronic medium,” said Bridget Roberts-Pittman, Indiana State University assistant professor of education and school psychology.

Students use everything from email, text messaging, instant messaging, blogs and their MySpace and Facebook pages to intimidate and spread information about other youth.

“Once you put it on the Internet, it’s there forever,” Roberts-Pittman said. “This is happening on a large scale.”

In recent weeks, cyberbullying and its ramifications have hit the media with the federal indictment of a Missouri woman who allegedly created a fake MySpace profile of a teenage boy in order to send bullying messages to a 13-year-old girl. The girl hanged herself in October 2006 after receiving cruel messages, including one stating that the world would be better off without her.

Cyberbullying can lead to depression, anxiety, poor school performance or missing school, Roberts-Pittman said. It happens most commonly among middle school students.

The meeting will help parents to bridge the digital information gap. Topics to be discussed include what is cyberbullying, warning signs of cyberbullying, resources available if a child is being cyberbullied and possible legal ramifications for parents.

“Part of the problem is parents are not as technology savvy as kids,” Roberts-Pittman said.

The meeting, which is free and open to the public, is limited to 100 attendees on a first come, first served basis. Reservations also may be made by calling 812-237-2830 or by emailing treynolds2@indstate.edu

Contact: Bridget Roberts-Pittman, assistant professor of education and school psychology, Indiana State University, at 812-237-4593 or broberts@isugw.indstate.edu

Indiana State University, Writer: Jennifer Sicking, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or at jsicking@indstate.edu

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With bullying moving beyond hallways and classrooms, Indiana State University's Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Chances for Youth are sponsoring a meeting about cyberbullying. The meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. June 12 at Booker T. Washington Community Center, located at 1101 S. 13th St.

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