Cyberbullying is on the lesson plan

Schools receiving subsidies for Internet service will have to teach students about cyberbullying and the responsible use of social networking sites, the U.S. telecommunications regulator has announced.

Schools receiving subsidies for Internet service will have to teach students about cyberbullying and the responsible use of social networking sites, the U.S. telecommunications regulator has announced.

Cyberbullying happens when teens use the Internet, mobile phones or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person — and it is a problem for nearly half of all U.S. teens, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

It is increasingly being cited as a predecessor to suicide attempts, the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds in the United States.

Last month, 18-year-old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi took his life after fellow students posted video of him engaged in sexual activity online. In 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide after a classmate and friend’s mother bullied her through a fake MySpace account.

The Federal Communications Commission said it will issue an order to schools receiving funds from the E-rate program, which subsidizes school Internet access, to address cyberbullying and improper use of sites like Facebook and MySpace.