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Cyberbullying: Kids’ dirty secret

Just last month, 14-year-old high school freshman Kameron Jacobsen of Orange County, N.Y., killed himself after incessant Facebook bullying from his classmates.

Just last month, 14-year-old high school freshman Kameron Jacobsen of Orange County, N.Y., killed himself after incessant Facebook bullying from his classmates.

His is one of the few tragic incidents that surfaced in the media involving cyberbullying, the repeated use of electronic information and mass media — such as e-mail, SMS, smartphones and Facebook — with the intention of harassing or attacking a person.

“Sextortion is on the rise,” Sgt. John Dockswell, who works with Nassau County Police Department community outreach, told Metro. “For example, say a couple are dating and the girl will take naked pictures of herself and e-mail them to her boyfriend. When they break up he’ll still have the pictures, and could threaten to put them online if she doesn’t do what he says. It’s very common.”

The problem has grown in New York City’s schools to the point that administrators have adjusted their disciplinary code to include cyberbullying as a serious infraction.

Kemp Hannon, a New York state senator from Garden City, is pushing for more aggressive cyberbullying laws in Albany.

“New York state is behind the curve on cyberbullying laws,” said Hannon. “The most vulnerable are middle and high school students, because they are in the process of developing their personalities and while they are being bullied they think it is their own fault.”

 
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