People can just be plain mean. I'm sure many people have experienced bullying at some point in time, but with advancements in technology and widespread adoption of the Internet, cyberbullying has become a factor. And, in some cases, bullying can drive someone over the edge.
In October 2006, Megan Meier, a thirteen year-old from Missouri, took her own life after her adult neighbor, Lori Drew, harassed her on MySpace. Drew pretended to be a boy and told her that 'the world would be better off without her'.
Drewwas only convicted on misdemeanor charges.
Cyberbullying was only a part of what pushed Phoebe Prince, a fifteen year-old Irish girl who moved to Massachusetts, to commit suicide this past January, as her peers harassed her both in person and via Facebook.
Regardless of the severity of the reaction, bullying is a real problem, and there are new tools for bullies to use. But there is some hope.
The Girl Scouts Research Institute released a study in 2009 entitled, Good Intentions: The Beliefs and Values of Teens and Tweens Today, which shows the following statistics:
It is only a small comfort that the statistics show that teens are opposed to cyberbullying. The fact of the matter is, it still happens. That is why mentoring programs need to be available to both young men and women in order to provide support.
The Girl Scouts have put together age-appropriate tips for how to work with girls who are dealing with bullying issues. You can also find their study here.