It is on social media sites and some of the images have even gone viral. A new kind of cyber bullying called teen shaming has local police departments concerned.
Teen shaming is when people post pictures of each other with derogatory things written on those pics.
“It’s really sad because she’s my best friend. I like seeing her in school, but it’s better for her now because she’s making new friends and the bullying is stopping.”
High school junior Alyssa Immel said her best friend is the victim of bullying, both at school and online. Alyssa’s mother ,Veronica, said social media sites are a vehicle for cyber bullying at her daughter’s school.
“Before the internet, you were at school, you get bullied and then you go home and that’s the end of it. Now, you have Twitter, Facebook, you have Instagram you have everything so, it continues on after school through these social media sites.”
And now a new form of cyber bullying called teen shaming is hitting social media sites.
“Teen shaming is an offshoot of a trend that’s occurred on a lot of social network sites where it’s people that have taken something that was meant to be fun and humorous and uplifting and they’ve turned it into a negative,” said Detective Sergeant Erick Klinkkowski of the Greenwood Police Department.
Teen girls post silly photos of themselves that are then altered to include blunt advice to each other, about things like how to dress more appropriately. Some of the photos have even gone viral.
Social media websites like the Facebook page “Hey girls, did you know” are littered with these types of photos and most of them are posted anonymously.
“It’s the technology that makes it more sinister in a way because sometimes you don’t know where it’s coming from or who’s starting it or how far it’s going out there in the cyberworld and that’s what’s scary about it,” said Kimble Richardson, a Counselor who treats victims of cyber bullying at the St. Vincent Stress Center.
“Bullying is bullying and if it’s criminal, we’re gonna follow up on it. It’s just a matter of time and persistence and technology isn’t something people should feel comfortable hiding behind,” said Klinkowski.
“Our department is committed to making sure people are safe both walking down the street and online and if these kinds of things are happening, call us, trust us, don’t keep it to yourself. document it print it out,” Klinkowski added.
Many parents like Alyssa’s mother are keeping a close watch on their kids in person and online.
“I’m looking at everything they do all the time. she’s (Alyssa) limited to when she’s allowed to be on there and when she’s not allowed to be on there.”
According to the Cyber Bullying Research Center, about half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly.
The Greenwood Police Department encourages anyone to contact them if they are the victim of bullying. They will investigate or pass on the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
More information is available online.