Gulfport students learn about growing threat of cyber bullies

The students also learned they could face possible jail time if they are caught bullying someone. (Photo source: WLOX)
The students also learned they could face possible jail time if they are caught bullying someone. (Photo source: WLOX)
Tuesday, a representative with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office visited Gulfport Central Middle School to talk to the students about the growing problem. (Photo source: WLOX)
Tuesday, a representative with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office visited Gulfport Central Middle School to talk to the students about the growing problem. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - With technology at everyone's fingertips, bullying has become a bigger problem than ever, especially amongst children. According to dosomething.org, nearly 43 percent of kids have been bullied online, and one in four have had it happen more than once.

Tuesday, a representative with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office visited Gulfport Central Middle School to talk to the students about the growing problem.

"Our advice to you, if you are the victim, do not respond," speaker Sherry McWhorter told the children.

This is not the first time the sixth graders have heard about cyber bullying. Unfortunately, many of them have already been exposed to the problem.

"It's a huge problem," sixth grader D'Janee Harris said.

Gulfport Central Middle School Student Anastasia Bearden said, "I heard it happen, and I saw it happen."

Anastasia said one of her friends was sent mean messages.

"I went to go tell the adult," Anastasia said.

"It is a problem in school," sixth grade Principal Shawn Butler said. "Some of it does get back to us, and we try to address it with both parties, but a lot of it does go on unnoticed and untold."

That is why Butler believes it is vital to educate the students on cyber bullying and the possible effects of this serious problem.

"They need to be mindful of what they actually post and what they say to somebody," Butler said. "The way they posted it might not be the way it was meant to be taken, and they really need to try and be mindful of what kind of impression they are leaving."

"I learned the people that get cyber bullied tend to have suicidal thoughts and actions," sixth grader Nate Smith said.

The students also learned they could face possible jail time if they are caught bullying someone. After hearing the harsh realities of cyber bullying, the students had a message for bullies.

"They probably have no reason to, and they should just blatantly stop," Kevin Thai said.

"If you are the bully, I hope that you know you are causing a lot of people harm," D'Janee said.

For tips to protect yourself against bullying, click on this link from the Mississippi Attorney General's Office: http://www.ago.state.ms.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/BullyingBrochure_final.pdf.

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