Cyberbullying: a growing problem?

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POSTED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 10:46pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 11:09pm

As many as 25% of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying, according to recent numbers from CNN.
Local students tell NewsChannel Nine they're not surprised.

"It's a big problem right now, a lot of kids who are actually committing suicide or getting into bad stuff like drugs and do other stuff so people won't mess with them," said student Hector Perez.

Hector Perez is a middle school student in El Paso and feels like cyberbullying is rampant.

"Facebook or Twitter or anything like that and it's a bigger problem than physical bullying because the parents don't know about it," said Perez.

Cyber bullies once targeted Jaqueline Valtier, an El Paso High School student.

"It doesn't really affect me because I know that they're being immature," said Valtier.

But not everyone can go unaffected. That's why the El Paso Sheriff's office partnered with the City and County of El Paso two years ago to declare El Paso an anti-bullying town.

"Letting people know we're serious, that we take bullying serious and we take the solution seriously," said Mayor John Cook.

It's one step in the right direction but parents need to follow up at home.

"When kids are bullied, you will detect a change or if you notice aggressive behavior in your child. Spending time with them is when you can detect it and if you have a close relationship with your kids, they are more likely to open up to you," said County Judge Veronica Escobar.

Chief Deputy Eddie Campa says since the Sheriff's Office launched the program, bullying reports have decreased.

"I think its getting better because people are now confronting each other about it and like actually talking about it and being mature about the situation," said Valtier.

Mayor Cook says people need to speak up and let everyone know if they are being bullied.

“Don't suffer in silence, tell people," said Cook.

There are apps and social media sites like www.eyeguardian.com that enable parents to better protect their children from certain content and help them report bullying.

NewsChannel 9 has partnered with the Sheriff's Office local program called “Enough”. The next installment will air Saturday at 6:30pm.

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