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1 in 4 Framingham High School Students Have Been Cyberbullied

And 1 in 5 Framingham middle school students have been the victim of cyber bulling, according to a MetroWest Health survey.

Credit: Framingham Public Schools
Credit: Framingham Public Schools
Cyber bulling has almost doubled in Framingham in the last 6 years according to the latest results of the MetroWest Health Foundation's MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey.

Students in grades 7-12 took the survey in October 2012. The Foundation has done the survey every other year since 2006. 

In 2006, 12 percent of Framingham High students said they had been cyber bullied. In 2012, the number had increased to 24 percent.

That means 1 out of every five students at Framingham High have experienced cyber bulling. With about 2,000 students at Framingham High, that equals to about 500 students.

And cyber bullying is on the rise at the Framingham public middle schools too. In 2006, 16 percent of middle school students reported that had experienced it. In 2012, that number had increased to 21 percent. Which means about 1 in every 5 middle school students have been the victim of cyber bullying.

For parents unfamiliar with the term cyber bullying it means to use technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person.

Sometimes cyberbullying can be easy to spot — for example, if your child shows you a text message, tweet, or response to a status update on Facebook that is harsh, mean, or cruel. Other acts are less obvious, like impersonating a victim online or posting personal information, photos, or videos designed to hurt or embarrass another person, according to kidshealth.org

Cyber bullying can take many forms:

  • Sending mean messages or threats to a person's email account or cell phone
  • Spreading rumors online or through texts
  • Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites
  • Stealing a person's account information to break into their account and send damaging messages
  • Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person
  • Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet
  • Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person

Cyber bullying can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Also, once things are circulated on the Internet, they may never disappear, resurfacing at later times to renew the pain of cyber bullying, according to bullystatistics.org.

Monday night, four Framingham High juniors and one senior presented the bullying results to parents as part of a special presentation titled the "Not So Secret Life of the Framingham Teen." 

The students reminded parents they need to teach their child(ren) that once something is on the Internet it can never be taken back. That it can be screenshot and shared over and over and over.

More than 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying, according to the Cyber Bullying Research Center.

The five students, including Victoria Mescall, Andre Gonzaga, senior Sabetha Lafontant and juniors Morgan Viall and Ramsey Malieswski, also presented survey results on mental health, alcohol and drug use and sexual behavior. 

Editor's Note: Framingham Patch plans to post reports on those topics later this month. This report is focused on the mental health results of the survey.

Monday night's meeting was the first part of a two-part forum on the survey results. 

On June 9, there will be round table discussion in which parents, school staff and the community will be asked to participate on how to deal with the results. The meeting will be held in room H100 at the high school from 7 to 8:30 p.m.



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