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By Samantha Arietta

Clarkstown officials’ phones have been ringing off the hook lately with calls from numerous parents about cyberbullying in the area. This has even led to police investigations of online threats of suicide.

Recently, bullying has become even easier behind a computer screen. Cyberbullying allows various individuals to be attacked through the use of postings on social networks, such as facebok and twitter, instant messaging and even websites such as “Ask.fm”, which allows users to post anonymous comments and questions.

Ask.fm is popular with mostly 11-14 year olds. Parents are concerned with the harassing comments these pages contain. The vicious posts, vulgar language, and obnoxious comments may seem harmless, however, the individuals posting do not realize that what they are doing may actually cause people to become depressed, or worse, hurt themselves, after receiving hateful comments.

The following comments were left on just one students Ask.fm:

“(She) is a unpopular selfish (expletive) who thinks she’s cool … don’t give a (expletive) if she’s being bullied … you’ll never know who I am.”

“Looks like a whale that washed up on the shore … hahaha”

While these posts are cruel and upsetting, a few kind people came to the student’s defense. They tried to help her out by calling her gorgeous and lovable. One teen had even warned the cyberbully of the repercussions of their posts, “People like you kill innocent children everyday. People (commit) suicide because of the hateful words.”

Parents are concerned that students will eventually hurt themselves if they keep being tormented and humiliated on social media. Teens need to think twice before they post. They need to realize that what they are saying can cause someone to become very upset and possibly harm themselves.

One Clarkstown parent, Denise Weiss posted comments on Clarkstown Parents to Save our Schools’ Facebook page. “We are so passionate about keeping our children safe from a mad man with a gun, but we are failing to be proactive about real dangers that our children face every day, right in the palm of their own hands,” she wrote. “I am hoping it doesn’t take a tragedy in Clarkstown for parents to become aware of what is going on in their children’s world, and am willing to do whatever I can to prevent our kids from suffering.”

Clarkstown officials have raised concern about cyberbullying in the district as they sent an email to all parents telling them to keep a close eye on what their children are posting online. Dianne Basso, principal of Felix Festa Middle School, said that the school is taking the situation very seriously and will continue to investigate.

 

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