Cyber bullying and sexting on the rise - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Cyber bullying and sexting on the rise

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By Ashley Conroy

RAYMOND, MS (WLBT) - The Hinds County School District held their first annual "Teen Summit" to address the dangers of cyber bullying and sexting.

About 120 students from seven different schools attended this summit at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center in Raymond.

Students from Terry High School performed a skit about the consequences of cyber bullying.

One student performer, junior Shamia Leverette says she sees bullying frequently at school. "Different friends attacking other friends. But it's very common."

Leverette believes for cyber bullying to stop, it will take teens to prevent it.

"Getting your friends together, you know and be like if we see anyone do this let's try to go on and end it there. You know just don't let it progress," said Leverette.

Junior Abby Thompson from Central Hinds Academy says she didn't realize how common cyber bullying is because she attends a small school. "There's people at school that you could think nothings wrong with them, but they could go home and get messages that could be prevented."

School administrators say this behavior often starts in school, then spreads on online. Since there is no online regulation, teachers have to try to resolve it on their own.

"I basically tell them to come to me and talk to me about it and we'll figure out a solution, that's the best way to handle that situation," said 9th Grade Teacher, Tambria Neal from Terry High School.

The summit also addressed "sexting", where a teen sends or receives a suggestive text message.

Statistics also show that about 40 percent of teens have engaged in suggestive behavior, and often don't realize it's a crime.

Superintendent of the Hinds County School District, Steven Handley, wants students to understand that once something is out there, whether it's sexting or cyber bullying, there is no turning back. "But it lasts forever and it tends to spread rapidly because of the large communication that takes place," Handley said.

Administrators have a few recommendations for students to take initiative against cyber bullying.

They recommend for students to stand up to someone else who is bullying other students. For those being bullied, they recommend for students to be open to their parents about what is happening.

In addition, they ask that students talk with their teachers and/or principal/counselors if the incident started in school.

The Hinds County School District is hosting a summit on Saturday, August 24th for parents to learn about the dangers of cyber bullying and sexting.

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