Technology brings cyberbullying directly into the home

It's difficult to find a student in 2010 who doesn't text, tweet or go on Facebook every day.

Some students and school officials say this ability to communicate constantly -- and if desired, anonymously -- is contributing to a growing problem among young people: cyberbullying.

"We have taken bullying from the playground and the bus stops into our living rooms through technology, and that's been the thing that has been so disturbing," said Geneva Cushing, a computer support specialist for Illinois' Collinsville School District 10.

Cyberbullying is "willfull and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices," according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, an online organization that provides information about cyberbullying among adolescents. October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Cushing, whose daughter was a victim of cyberbullying when she attended Collinsville High School seven years ago, facilitates Internet Safety presentations at Collinsville schools and discusses cyberbullying with students.

Like other metro-east school staff, she said rapidly evolving technologies are allowing bullies access to their victims at any time or place.

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