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September 6th, 2010 by Loni Coombs

Taking a Stand against Cyber Bullying

The following is from my good friend Loni Coombs, a legal analyst, mom and regular contributor to the Dr. Phil show and The Doctors. She appeared on the Dr. Phil show “Bullied to Death,” weighing in on the legal consequences cyber bullies should face as a result of their actions.

Loni_1I just finished taping a heart-wrenching episode of the Dr. Phil show that airs today. The show deals with the recent suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University freshman who was “outed” by his roommate’s  alleged surreptitious recording of Tyler’s sexual contact with another male. It was broadcast over the Internet, and highlights a dangerous and devastating trend that we as a society need to deal with immediately and not continue to stick our collective heads in the sand and hope it will go away.

Tyler’s story brings together the perfect storm of a vulnerable young man struggling with his own sexual identity, a desensitized attention seeker and the far-reaching, immediate and permanent impact of the cyber social network.

I’ve always compared the Internet to fire — a powerful tool that can improve life or destroy it.  It all depends on how we use it. Unfortunately, we literally put this potent instrument into the hands of children, teens and young adults. Most of them don’t have the maturity or understanding to use it responsibly, and the results are deadly. Yes — deadly. During the show, I struggled to contain my emotions as photo after photo of sweet, beautiful young faces —  children — who have committed suicide after being cyber bullied, flashed on the screen.

Dr. Phil and I discussed the legal ramifications of Tyler’s death. Presently his roommate and another freshman are charged with multiple counts of invasion of privacy, which carry a maximum five-year prison term. Prosecutors are considering adding a hate crime enhancement, which would double the maximum sentence. Dr. Phil zeroed right in on the critical issue in this case: Should the defendants be held accountable for their actions only? Or should they also be held responsible for all of the resulting consequences — including Tyler’s actions? Have suicides from cyber bullying reached such a level that we as a society should consider it a “reasonably foreseeable” consequence?  Are we ready for a “cyber bullying manslaughter” law?

9402_1Dr. Phil included in this show a group of young people who courageously shared their personal experiences of being bullied over their perceived sexual orientation. Years ago, when I was in charge of the Hate Crimes Prosecution Unit for Los Angeles County, I spent quite a bit of time with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community support groups, so I’m not naïve about the shocking lack of common decency exhibited by some people. But most of the victims I dealt with were adults.

Now, I listened to these young people describe their loneliness and isolation from peers and parents, and their painful struggles with depression and suicide attempts. I had to reign in my overwhelming mothering instincts to go wrap my arms protectively around each one of them and tell them how strong, and beautiful and valuable they are. At the end, Dr. Phil asked each one of them to look directly into the camera and share the advice they would give to someone who might be out there, drowning in that same dark hole that they had been in. With simple eloquence, each young person expressed moving encouragement of love and hope.

As parents, teachers, lawmakers and peers, we need to open our eyes and take a stand against cyber bullying. Failing to act now is too dangerous, too deadly for us all.

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110 Responses to “Taking a Stand against Cyber Bullying”

  1. STD Carriers says:

    Wow! Dr. Phil you are a genius. “Keyboard bullies”, how long did it take to come up with that one? I have another word that fits this kind of thing much better, Cyber Terrorists. I proved this back in March when I made someone who conducted themselves in matter that to quote the basic definition of cyber terrorism could be defined as “The premeditated use of disruptive activities, or the threat thereof, against computers and/or networks, with the intention to cause harm or further social, ideological, religious, political or similar objectives. Or to intimidate any person in furtherance of such objective” featured on his local news station and National Terror Alert for repeatedly using fake accounts to make false accusations against someone of a pedophile like nature. All it took was a little media research, a well written press release using official sounding vocabulary, and email.

    Despite that people still abuse my services, but at a lower rate. Some have called me a cyber bully for that make an example out of someone stunt that also included submitting articles in bulk to free article dumps as free content for webmasters. If that is true then take it from me, the best way to fight cyber bullies is with cyber bullying.

    Morale of the story: Don’t screw with the wrong service provider.

  2. lisa says:

    My name is lisa smedy I am willing to take a stand against cyber bullying. I have facebook and twitter.

  3. Cathy Fout says:

    I am a mother of a teenage daughter who also was bullied in middle school, cyber bullied the following summer before high school and then it continued in high school. That was the worst year of her life. With all the peer pressures, my daughter resulted in having peptic ulcers. She was out sick more than she was in school that year of her 9th grade life. In the school year of 09′ and 10, she was bullied to the point that I had to take her out after 9 days of the school term to home school her. One year later she has decided she wants to try and return to high school. The principal and counselor were very helpful in that she only goes to two classes in the afternoon, and does some home schooling at home. They were so willing to try and ease her back into school. Our area has now decided to work in stopping bullying. After getting her back in, the first two weeks it started again. Rumors going off like it was sky rockets. Knowing who it was we went to the principal to let her know what was going on. She of course did not believe it since she knew her and was very close to this girl. We have proof and I told her who these people were that could back up what was being said. (she is like her second mom). She did not call these students in to verify what was being said. She then told the girl what we said, and she told her and my daughter to talk it out so she confronted my daughter and they talked. She of course denies it all. The rumors at this time have stopped. But we never know when it might start back up.

    I am at the point that if it does, and we go to the principal again and she does nothing , I will go to the board to have her job. I will not stand by and let this principal and this girl ruin my daughter’s life. I just want my daughter to enjoy her high school years to try and have a somewhat normal life.

    She was at the point where she was cutting, she has a skin picking disorder and has threatened suicide. Everyday is a challenge for her. She now has a boyfriend that is very supportive and knows what is going on. Thank you for doing what you are doing in stopping what is vicious and dangerous to our kids.

  4. STD Carriers says:

    As an online service provider I am probably more aware than most of how prevalent this problem. As a professional web developer and search engine marketer I also know just how easy it is to spread your own propaganda around the web quickly and efficiently. I myself have been the victim of cyber bullying on multiple occasions. The latest being by a man who sent me extortionist demands via email, was furious when I published his emails, and then started spamming comment grids on various news sites that have done stories about me with false information. In my case however I don’t really let it bother me since in a way I really brought it on myself by promoting controversial ideas publicly.

    Right now I am seriously considering acting upon an idea I’ve had floating around since May. To deploy an anonymous automated publishing system similar to Illegal Alien Report to empower victims of cyber bullies to take their lives back by listing their tormentors online to compel voluntary removal of harmful information that they have posted elsewhere. The only thing holding me back is an already full time plus workload.

  5. mimosa says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I work with a man who claims to be a Christian and calls the gay and lesbian communities deviants. It is so disheartening to me to hear him when he speaks about them like they have a choice. I would have to say that most probably wish they were straight so that they did not have to go through the anguish others put them through because of being gay or lesbian. Intolerance I feel comes from within an individual’s home. If the parents express intolerance in the home the kids pick up on it and bring it to the schools. Teenagers today need a soft place to land regarding this issue, but where to go and feel safe with their secret till they are ready to come out is the big question. I think that if there was a choice the choice would be to be happy and free not isolated and feared. This I know to be every human beings right.

  6. Eva Wallace says:

    I watch the episode of bullying, its so sad that kids own insecurety turns into another childs tragedy, I’m against bullying not only on the internet but schools even my own front were my child plays, she’s only 5yrs old but I tell her daily if someone says things to you and you’re uncomfortable or beleives it was mean & unecessary tell me or your teacher, so that we can take of it right away, but a lot of kids that bullys gets bully themselves from somebody, so they pass there anger onto the next person & that really can cause problems big fights, as you no some family reacts in a different manner & someone other than the kids could really get hurt.

  7. Cheri says:

    I am 51 yrs old when computers were only in big name companies and government. I got bullied many different times while growing up. I do have low self-esteem from this and have been to counseling for it, it still effects me. One girl called me on the phone because she liked the same boy that I did, telling me things she would do to me. Not pretty, besides they were into drugs and I wasn’t.
    Children are different now days, and they are much more nasty and cruel. There is a young man here in the Wisconsin state prison system right now because he couldn’t get any adult to listen and help him get the bullying to stop. I do believe there should be a law, both parents and the child, doing the bullying, should be held accountable for it.

  8. Dr. Phil, I am with you 100% on stopping this bulling in all manner. I will be praying for this. Good luck in everyway. If you need me in anyway, just let me know. Thank you for your time on this matter. Luv Glenda

  9. Michaela Myers says:

    Hallo my Name is Michaela Myers, i’am from Germany.We Moved to huntsville alabam
    on july. I’want too say that my daughter was bullying 2 years ago and it was bad she was crying everyday and we start talking too the person that did this to her and explain to her what her action do to my daughter and that she needs to stop and she did stop.

  10. romayne jenks says:

    I WILL CONTACT MY REP, LAMAR SMITH. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS THE BEST LANGUAGE TO USE TO GET HIS ATTENTION.
    KEEP UP THE PRESSURE. MY GRAND DAUGHTER IS ON FACEBOOK, SHE IS ONLY 11 YRS OLD AND I AM VERY CONCERNED. IS THERE ANY LAW THAT COULD BE PASSED TO VERIFY AGES ON THIS SITE?
    CERTAINLY, I HAVE VOICED MY DISAPPROVAL, BUT TO NO AVAIL. I WILL KEEP TRYING!!

  11. Im struggling to stop the bullying at my boys’ schools. Both boys live w/mental, emotional & behavioral disabilities & are being bullied daily at school. The faculty refuse to follow the district wide No Tolerence for bullying! My boys come home crying wkly…when my oldest son was in 6th grade, the bullying got so extreme that he ended up in the ER after being slammed, head first, into the school bathroom wall. The punishment for the 3 boys responsible was 1 day ISS…this was the 6th time the staff had been told about these boys! No one is protecting these vulnerable children!!

  12. romayne jenks says:

    2ND ATTEMPT——
    I WILL CONTACT MY REP., LAMAR SMITH. PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW TO WORD MY PLEA, AS TO GET HIS ATTENTION.
    MY GRAND DAUGHTER IS ONLY 11 YRS OLD, AND IT WORRIES ME THAT IS ON FB. IS THERE ANY WAY TO VERIFY AGES ON THESE SITES?
    KEEP UP THE PRESSURE! WE NEED TO GET SOME LEGISLATION PASSED WHICH WOULD PUT SOME CONTROLS ON THIS VERY SERIOUS SITUATION.

    GOOD LUCK,
    ROMAYNE JENKS

  13. I think that the mothers in this are responsible for not giving the child the self esteem them need to (fight) this bullies off. I am watching your show now and I heard you tell the child that is not your fault. That is what the mother should be telling the child. I think it’s the mothers job to give the child the self esteem they need. Mothes usually notice when the child is being bad, or doing bad things, but the mothers should know, that they need to recognize the child when the child is doing good things. I hope the mother learns a lesson from this. Thank you

  14. Richard G says:

    Hey Mr Phil,

    I Love your show .. I just wanted to say I stand beside you about the cyber Bully. I am a computer tech. And I love to teach other how to safe guard there computer . If you or anyone need help with any thing Feel free to contact me .

  15. Kelly Bland says:

    I agree so much with what your doing to stop the Bulling. It hits home so much because I have a 15 year old daughter and a 14 year old niece who just happen to go to the same high school and they have so much rivalry between them that it has gotten out of hand. My daughter has told my niece several times that she want’s to have her own seperate life but my niece won’t take that response and leave her alone to have a normal high school life without her in her face all day every day. She continues to cut my daughter down to her friends behind her back and keeps churning up turmoil and making my daughter to where she doesn’t want to go to that school anymore because she hears something new everyday that my niece has said about her. I have tried to talk to my brother about it but he doesn’t see where there is a problem and doesn’t want to correct his daughter or the problem. My brother and I at one point and time had a really tight relationship and because of all this drama and turmoil it is now making us grow distant because I want to protect my daughter and for his to be made to stop the bulling. My problem is what do we do about the parents that are out there that doesn’t want to correct their children and believe that their children are doing nothing wrong or see a problem with what they are doing? Don’t get me wrong this is a wounderful thing you are doing and I am behind you 100%. But the eyes need to be opened of every parent who believe that their child is a perfect angel and not capable of doing such a terrible thing.

  16. This behavior is absolutely heartbreaking to me… do we NOT recognize that our youth is in crisis on so many levels. How can the mean, cruel, unacceptable behavior continue to escalate in our youth? Well of course much of it comes from our society accepting things we should not, and PARENTING…I’m sorry to say it… but WE AS PARENTS MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR CHILDREN. We are the adults…we need to act like grown ups. Granted there are some horrific parents out there… so this is when we step in and watch out for other kids that may need responsible, caring, adults in their lives. It’s not rocket science to see when kids are in need… it is simply TIME… time spent with your kids, their friends, your neices/nephews, your church youth groups etc…

    I have two children (15 and 6)… I won’t say I’m a perfect parent or person but I will say that I’m involved in their lives. It’s tough as they become teens… they want to detach and be grown up, but I don’t take no for an answer. I continue to ask questions and it is known in my home that all systems (computer, email, cell phone) are monitored by my husband and I. It was at first taken as an invasion of privacy with our son, however we made it perfectly clear that we, as parents, are responsible for the safety, integrity, and behaviors of our family, we are legally responsible for our children and anything that comes off or out of computers in our home, and as such it is either we monitor or the priviledge is gone. Parents, there is software available to make this process easy. Also, I made it perfectly clear that anyone in the house was FREE to at any time read my emails… listen to my voice mails etc… This is simple… If I’m not doing anything to be ashamed of or participating in anything unacceptable then why do I care if anyone reads or checks my messages? Simply put… I have told my son if you wouldn’t want it published on the front page of the New York Times, then you probably shouldn’t be writing it or saying it. I must say that I’ve had to tell adult employees the same thing so I know it’s not just our children that need to be following that rule.

    My heart breaks for these kids being targeted and I believe that the school authorities need to be involved if it is happening within school hours and on school property. How do we make that happen? Also we need to change or inact laws that make this behavior punishable. If we involve parents of these bullies and they refuse to take action – there needs to be legal support to make these families/children responible for their behaviors. Where do we start? How do we get more involved in this? —Sue Richter Shawgo

  17. M.B. Vaughn says:

    Not only do children bully other children. My grandson secured a teaching/coaching position after graduation. It did not go well! Because of what took place and what he was accused of he felt he should leave that school. A student’s family started a “hate” campaign toward my grandson. Now he is at another school several hundred miles away from the first school and the “hate” campaign has followed him. He is teaching and coaching at the new school. So, even the children are bullying the adults in some cases. This student and her parents couldn’t have known the seriousness of their actions! They are ruining a young man’s reputation as well as his carrear.

  18. Mitzi says:

    Being cyberbullied is not just reserved for children. I believe the biggest difference is in the reaction to it. Children haven’t fully formed a self image so are more susceptible. However, having been a victim of adult cyber-bullying i can tell you, if I didn’t know who i was, the effect could have been as serious as with any child. I think that cyber-bullying needs to be addressed as a topic for everyone so even (chronological) “adults” can look at themselves and maybe question themselves and their tactics. I am pleased and thankful that you are publicly and loudly addressing the issue about children, especially in light of all the recent suicides, and totally support it.

  19. john w flaherty jr says:

    cyberbullying,verbal,physical bullying it’s all the same. does the same damage. physically mentally.it;s about time a law is passed to make the person or persons accountable for their actions. my daughter and grandchildren use the computer and facebook. so any thing you could do to help put these laws in place is greatly appreciated. i will also be writing my local state representative.

    john w flaherty
    october 7,2010 at 5:45 pm

  20. Cindy Fishley says:

    Hello Dr Phil,
    I’m a big fan. you really make a big difference on really important situations. I’m the mother of two teenagers, and I was bullied a lot before any of these social networks existed. I’ve always stressed to my kids how wrong it is and to stick up for those who are getting bullied, which both of my kids have done in school. I’m very very proud of them!!

  21. D.Marie says:

    Thank you Dr.Phil, I just want to say, Where are the parents? It is part there duty to make sure this dont happen.. It should be against the law for kids to be on a social web site, and parents need to be held accountable. We need to know what our kids are doing… My two boys will not be on Facebook or myspace or any site like that. The only reason a child should be on the internet in my opinion, is for school work only! Nothing good can come from a child being online anyways.

  22. Shirley-Ann Garlinski says:

    Cyber bullying is a world wide epidemic, I live in Canada and have four daughters, my youngest is 16 and has suffered more by technology than by anything else, she is now going to her third high school and it continues to follow her we are doing all the right things. We have bullying laws here however the police seem very limited in what they can do about it.

    We will do anything to stop the harassment she is receiving.

    SA Garlinski

  23. Gina Daffin says:

    My dad was in the military, so we moved-A Lot. I went to 13 different schools from K-12th grade. There was really nothing wrong with me besides being the new kid all the time, but I experienced all kinds of bullying until I was accepted by someone or group. I got a little pudgy one year-I developed acne for a while(at the same time everybody had it), was too academic and so on. So, it has always bothered me for someone to be bullied I had an article about it in my locker at work for many years. One of the things I noticed when I graduated to the adult working world is that it didn’t stop. By then, I was attractive, smart and no longer was a target most of the time, but I found that adult women I worked with often bullied others(I worked in a predominantly female career. I have always stepped in to stop it but it really is so common. The theme is still to pick weaker individuals-those with less power-whether it is in relationships such as between friends or the job ladder. I also think that our media culture with the reality shows such as the “Wives of New York or Jersey” the MTV living arrangement shows with warring roomates encourage this kind of negative adult behaviour that models what children find fun or empowering to act out on their peers. How do we get our kids to be kind to each other when soccer moms, PTA officials or your own mother talks about other people spreading rumors etc. Gossip or trash talking is everywhere! I have a Facebook page where a “friend” that was angry with me, posted comments about my hairstyle, financial situation and other things I had confided in her. We are both over 45. I do think it is a Fantastic idea to bring education about bullies with requirements of rules and regs dealing with them. Then, all kids will hear about these issues even when they don’t learn at home. I really feel for the parents that bring these problems to the attention of the principle etc. and get nowhere. My son was bullied by someone with a record of bullying, reported it without help, and eventually was tripped in class and injured enough to miss school. There were actually two teachers in this class-one in front and one in back of class-but they each claimed to see nothing. The school guidance counselor said nothing could be done even though they were aware of this student and his buddies behaviour. They actually were afraid of this kid’s parents. Which brings up another problem. What do you do when the adults at school-teachers etc, are afraid of scary parents-the ones who might cut your tires or attack you in the parking lot. In my area, unfortunately,this is a concern.

  24. Gloria Drury says:

    I agree with harsh punishment for bullying. My grandson was bullied and I know
    a lot of children who did not want to go to school because of it. We should have
    tougher laws. I went directly to the person when my daughter was bullied. It
    was not as bad as cypher bullying.

  25. Christi says:

    Dear Dr. Phil
    I am the mother of a teen-aged boy who has experienced bullying in the past. I can not say how much I appreciate your show today. My son hasn’t experienced any cyber bullying – but I know other teens that have and a condition of my son having a facebook page is that I have access to it – the minute I find myself blocked or anything hidden – his page is history. I also belong to the parent committee at his school and this topic has come up before, but going in a direction that I never expected. So, I hope to bring it up looking for helpful advice. I live in a very culturally diverse community that is quite heavily Asian. We had a mother approach our Parent Advisory Committee with a flyer she had obtained online regarding a Gay, Lesbian, Transgender support service – this flyer had been sent to the BC Teacher’s Federation to be passed along to school counsellors in the area. This parent was irate and did not want her daughter to join this ‘club’. We, as a group, tried to explain what the flyer was all about and I even tried to explain to this Mom that the GLTG Community wasn’t exactly a club. This only underlines a problem that I experienced during the time my son was in elementary school, in that many parents say ‘Not my kid” When faced with accusations of bullying. I really don’t like picking on one particular group of people, but this problem seems quite endemic to the Asian community here. My ex-husband was Japanese so I’m only too familiar with misunderstanding and denial. Many of these parents are still so rooted in the taboos of their generation and their culture that it’s quite difficult to approach. And sometimes this becomes even more of a challenge because much of the bullying can be hidden by a language barrier. The schools proclaim that they are ‘anti-bullying’ and the kids are always encouraged to wear pink on anti-bullying days to raise awareness – but it is very much an uphill battle in our community. The only thing I’ve been able to do, so far, is to stay vigilant and hope that things get better.
    I can’t thank you enough for joining the fight.

  26. Lindsey Mckay says:

    My name is Lindsey im 20 and i was a victim of cyber bullying not long ago. I now have a son (2 months old) and i am horrified to see how bad this will be by the time he goes to school. I would like to take a stand against cyber bullying so that my son and other children in the future never have to go through what i did. Thankyou for taking a stand to try and save these poor children from something so horrible.

  27. Tina says:

    I have a friend that moved to Florida when her son was 12yrs old.He went to school and was bullied everyday,came home with blackeyes when she asked him what was wrong he would tell her he feel asleep on his arm thats what was making his eyes dark.Truth was that he was bullied and threathen so bad he didn’t tell.There were resouce officers at this school how would they not know.Well when he had enough he came home stole his moms gun out of her lock box after she went to bed the next morning he went to school shot the guy on the playground.Thank God the boy didn’t die but her sons life was ruined not once but twice.He spent his adolescent life in juevinile until he was 21 all because he was the new kid in school.It’s sad because it really destroyed a young child.

  28. Jennie says:

    Please include me on this taking a stand against anti bullying.

    I have grand kids age 12. This is growing like a decease…Thank you Dr. Phil

    Your always on time…and the time is NOW. May God continue to Bless you

    for all your great programs and teachings.

  29. carolyn gardner says:

    I just want to comment that all bullying should be included. A child that is fat or has a big nose or that smells bad cause an adult isn’t taking care of him, they all get bullied terribly. A child that isn’t self-assured will be bullied by a “popular” kid with anything that they decide, like making fun of them for wearing snow pants in the middle of the winter, in Maine, in a snow strom. I have seen this through an elementary teachers eys and a parents.

  30. Wiliiam Washum says:

    Dr Phil,

    I love how you make this bullying a new thing saying it’s growing,for your information it’s been grown, it’s nothing new. Children are not the only ones
    bully and bullies aren’t just children and teens, their teachers,cops,bosses, companies, and
    list goes on. Politician are the worst they promote it, anything to discredit each other. And you ask where does our children and teens get from, you don’t have to look too far. We teach our children to be bullies to get an edge over someone and it doesn’t have to be the parents.Teachers and the media play a big part in the factor. The parents teach them to pick on the poor, different, sick,and old.
    And cyber-bullying adults bully other adults on the internet, a month ago woman called my sister a retard because she didn’t like what she sent her on Farmville.
    These people have to put the light out of others so theirs would be brighter. When a parent or teacher tells a child or teen YOU HAVE TO STEP ON THE PEOPLE TO GET SOMEWHERE, THEY TAKE THIS TO HEART do it.

  31. OK- you did it- ‘a changing day in my life’.Your episode on bullying felt to me like a call to action. As a mom of now grown children- and the nana to two precious children, one a girl just starting middle-school, I want to know what to DO. I have signed petitions- I have voiced my concern on Facebook- but what can I physically DO?
    I work in Women’s Health- as a nurse. I know my impact on the lives I touch daily. But my heart breaks when I see the precious faces of those children who have ended their lives, and know the pain their families must feel.
    Dr Phil- I need some verbs!

  32. HorseLisa says:

    Dear Dr. Phil: I have two sons ages 17 and 15 both now in High School. My younger son when in middle school was the victim of occasional bullying. He wasn’t the best student and only had a couple of friends. Most of which were not very loyal. We had a few conversations with the assistant principal at the Middle school which helped defuse some of the incidents with the other kids. My older son who was always popular and a better student with many friends gave some disturbing advice to his younger brother. He would tell him not to report anything and to just ignore them. He told his brother it would be “social suicide” to say anything. If he wanted to hang out with any of the smart, athletic, popular kids he should just “suck it up” and wait for a change. It took a while but things seem to have cooled off. I can hardly wait until they both graduate from High School in the hopes that the people they will be with later on will be more mature and less of the bad behavior will be going on. I don’t want to rush away their youth but that’s what I’m feeling. Teens are very harsh.

  33. Jennifer Allen says:

    I will take a stand against cyber bulling or any other type of bulling. I am so happy that this problem is being aired on your show. It will help children and parents know where to go for help.

    Thanks Dr. Phil for taking a national stand against this.

  34. Cathy says:

    Dr. Phil, I also know what its like to be bullied it happened to me as a kid not only by other kids at school but by an adult in my family. Now here is a thought where do these kids learn to be bullies? They are not born with a Bullie Gene. They learn it from their parents and other adults in their lives as soon as they are born. That is where it needs to also stop. If you can stop it at the s ource it will end with the offsprings of these people that feel they are perfect in everyway. The schools are responsible also just as parents to report abuse of any kind. And for any adult in a school to say they knew nothing is a liar. I have a suggestion for the kids that are being bullied why not put it on paper take it to the office and have it signed to acknowledge this was reported. Put the paper in a safe place it may come in great use one day.

  35. Claire Chiofar says:

    I watched this show yesterday and I am a huge fan of yours and proud that you are stepping up to help with this problem. It seems that there are several problems that need to be solved.

    I grew up in the 60’s and I remember being bullied. The saying then was “Sticks and Stones….” My parents always told me to walk away which actually did work for me. If a bully is not getting any response from you, they will back off. Computers have just made it easier for anonymous bullying to occur. I would like to see legislation where a parent can contact the police department and show proof that bullying is occurring and they can contact an internet provider and find out who this person is. They never use their real name. They have the authority to check phone numbers, etc., why not the internet?

    Recently, my grandson was accused of being a bully and neither his parents or I believed it. He claimed that the other kid was bullying him. Fortunately, the bus where the incident occurred had a camera and the bus driver watched the entire tape and was able to prove that it was my grandson bullying (he threw the first punch). The bus driver told my daughter that he was aware of what was happening with these two and warned the both of them that they would not be able to take the bus to school if this continued. My grandson was talked to and punished for this. He now sits far away from the other kid and has been told he is not to talk to him. He’s a good kid. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be too quick to assume your kid isn’t bullying. Sometimes it’s just a stupid phase but it can get out of control.

  36. Yvette says:

    I watched the Dr. Phil show about cyber bullying. I also read the post from Cathy Fout. I sadly can agree with Cathy on what our children have to deal with in school. My 15-year-old son has been dealing with bullying for the past 3 years. The bullying has been done by the same group of boys. My son has been called names, pushed, challenged to fights, actually got into a fight and arrested for defending himself. I even had a boy arrested for sexual harassment against my son. I have gone to the school and discussed the issues with multiple assistant principals and even the main principal. Since the group of boys denied doing anything and my son’s witnesses too afraid of coming forward, the group of boys get off with a warning to leave my son alone. My son had a witness come forward after an incident in school occurred. Well these bullies went after that witness and threatened to go after him. Now my son’s friends are afraid to get involved.

    The bullying has also taken place outside of school. One boy went looking for my son on the weekend to “jump him.” Another boy in a car with 2 other boys chased my son. Luckily, my son was able to find someone who could help keep him safe until the police came. When I made a report with the police, I was informed that I needed to handle the situation with the school since the bullying started in school. I pushed for justice and had the boy arrested. The bullying still did not stop. I ended up taking the situation to the district office. I heard the same story….there was nothing they could do since the bullies were not physically harming my son. The district decided to have staff members follow my son to every class to make sure the bullies would leave him alone. This solved the problem until the end of the school year.

    When my son started his sophomore year, the bullying began 2 days into the school year. I met with the principal and asked for the school to put a stop to the bullying…again since the boys denied doing anything, there was nothing they could do but warn the boy to stay away from my son. Unfortunately, I decided to change him to another high school to keep him safe.

    Since the bullying started 3 years ago, my son has been through so much. He did start cutting himself, he got really depressed, and his grades dropped so I home schooled him for the remainder of the school year. He would have so much fear about going to school that he would throw up. I was so afraid of what could happen to him when he was at school. I would pray everyday that my son would come home safe from school. Since changing his school, he is doing better.

    I am tired of seeing others stand around and do nothing to stop these bullies. We need to come together as parents and a community and put a stop to bullying in schools and on the internet. People need to understand how bullying really affects people and how harmful they can be. We are our children’s voices and we need to do whatever possible to keep them safe.

  37. Brittany Gaddis says:

    Taking a stand against ALL bullying.
    We need to come together and end this now.

  38. Elly says:

    I myself was not bullied persay, but my brothers were,,,being hispanic, relatively from poor background. Instead I think what I saw come from that was my brothers learn to be the bullies having to stand up for themselves, and siblings on more than one occasion…It never was easy hearing those things and doing the best we could with what we had…Kudos to all the families standing up to those who clearly have issues themselves…Thank You Dr Phil…I am 110% beside you…

  39. Catherine Volmer says:

    WOW, this is heart wrenching. It is such a hard issue because the schools have no authority when the kids go home, and the police say that nothing happened physically so they have no authority. It really is a silent killer. It is sad that no one will step up and say these kids deserve more than this. These kids deserve to have a sanctuary.

  40. Sadly Hurt says:

    After Reading All, I Have To say i Know The Feeling All Too well, Sometimes i feel like Just Giving Up And what Keeps me Going are My children. 3 Years Ago I Was Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, And my Life Changed Dearly,

    Since Then I Have Just Been Threw Stress After stress And For The Past 2 Years My Neices And Their friends Have Bullied Me Using Aim, IM, And Facebook. They Have Used My Illness As A Joke. How Does Someone Do this and Get away with It.

    I Have Tried To Ignore it But How much Can a Person Hold? I Have Stood Up for myself fighting Back and Giving Them A Piece of My Mind, I Know its Not the Right Thing To do but i Just can’t take it anymore,

    My Husband and kids don’t wanna Get Involved Because It’s Family but Im Not Gonna let This Go On Any longer, I Dont think Anyones Health Or way Of living should Be used As A Joke. While i Live In Fear everyday that my illness Could return i Have This group Of Cowards Thinking That It’s a Joke.

    and All Because I Tell Them what They Do wrong In Their lives and they Get Mad because They don’t like To hear The Ugly Truth about ThemSelves. How Can i even Call These Cowards Family? Then the Go around speading Lies about Me Making Me To Be The bad one,

    they Go On Their Friends Facebook Page To stalk Me and make up Screen Names To Write To Me On Aim. I Sometimes Get In My Car Go for a long ride and yell from The Top Of My lungs and that does Not Help. If They Called Me Names i think I Would deal with it

    but To Use My illness and say things Like my cancer Is gonna Take me to hell, and that i’m Only half Of a woman Cause My Insides were Taken Out, That I Have lost My sexual feeling, that Im An Old Lady Who Is Gonna Die Of Cancer, How Can These words Come out of a Family Members Mouth, How i Just Can’t understand it.

    Recently i aproached Them In Person and they did nothing, I wanted To Push them so they Could Just hit Me and Get It Over with, But Of Caurse Like Cowards That They are They did nothing But Continue To run Their Mouths.

  41. Tom says:

    I believe that since this problem originates over the internet, it has to be solved there. Why can’t the developers of the computer hardware come up with a way where people have to sign in before using a computer to transmit messages to others. If they did, and could be traced, many would not because bullies are basically cowards that will back down if they are confronted.
    I know this new hardware of signing in might take some time to develope, but it might worth it. The way people are badmouthing each other on the net and getting away with it, they might think twice if there would be evidence of this for a slander law suit staring them in the face.

  42. Sandy Whitmore says:

    Dr. Phil, One of the things that people are missing about Bullying is that this needs
    to be addressed in the Elementary Schools when the kids are young. I was a school Counselor for 33 years and I presented Bully Classes when the kids were in
    the third and fourth grade. We did lots of roll playing so that the kids could understand what bullying is all about. I feel that again it needs to be presented
    in Middle School and High Schools.

    We even trained some of the kids to handle their peers who did bullying and talk to them about the situation and consequences were worked out with the principal.

  43. Julie says:

    Dr. Phil- I have to say that I always worried about my children being bullied in school, I think that all parents worry that their children at some point in their school life will be bullied for some reason whether it is for the way that they chose to live their lives, the clothes that they wear, the friends that they chose to hang out with or for just being loners. Parents worry everyday if their child will be picked on or beat up for one reason or another, and cyber bullying is to me is a way for teenagers and kids even adults to be able to say hateful stuff and post cruel things and feel like they are doing it and cant be caught. I have always told my children to make sure that they never bully anybody at their schools and if they see somebody being bullied to let an adult know that it is going on not to stand by and watch it happen. It really breaks my heart to hear all the suicides happening because people for some reason feel the need to make others feel beneath them or less then them or because they do not understand that others have a choice on how they want to live their lives and just because they chose to live the way that they do doesnt really affect them. Let people chose to live the way that they chose, and you chose to live the way that you do. I guess I never understood the reason that people felt the need to bully and harrass others just simply because they were different one way or another. Lets put an end to it though and just stop and think before you react, there are way to many young kids dying that is just senseless.

  44. Kristin says:

    DrPhil~
    My name is Kristin. I am 28 and I need help. I have 2 children and they are both sick and I need help. My son is 2 and he was born with 3 wholes in his heart and as he grow up they closed and we went back to the doctor and there is still a whole in his heart. He needs to go to a specialist and get more testing. Then there is my daughter she is 17 months old and she hasnt taken her first steps yet. She has a click in her hips and has tried to take her first steps and falls. Her feet do not touch the floor when she stands. I want to know if you can help me get the help we need. My children are the most important people in my life. Can you please take a look maybe you can help us? thank you Kristin.

  45. tasha zerbe says:

    im a hight school student and i give a pledge to dr.phil and parents i will do everything in my power to stop bullying. i will stand up for those who think they cant themselfs.

  46. Donna says:

    I would like to make a stand against bulling of any kind.Oct.9 I turned 56 and the bulling I have recieved still affects my self esteem.I was burned when I was 7,I’am half Mexican and was poor.I was called monster,burned toast,niger and that is just a few.I was beat up in middlle school.No one said much accept kids will be kids or suck it up.I just would like to help others to try and learn to deal with how they feel and to find a way for those who do the bulling to known the effect that it has on people. When I was young God put it in my mind that the reason people hurt others is cause that they are hurting themselves and that helps some times but not always.I have learned a few things by reading different self help books.I had some counsling.I just would like people to, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you belive.I know that people believe they can’t change things but I have a quote for all of you “Be the CHANGE you want to see in the WORLD.”Mahatma Ghandi

  47. Dianne says:

    I am taking a stand. I am extremely proud to say that I will be a participating adult in Challenge Day (part of “If You Really Knew Me”) here in Maine on Nov. 2, 2010.
    It is my passion to help these children – if only I can help just one….

  48. Kim says:

    Dr. Phil
    You are sadlly mistaken if you think that cyber bullying is affecting the young. I am 48 years old. I have been placed in this arena of being cyber bullied for the past 5 years. I have tried to maintained a thick skin but unfortunately it takes a toll when my kids can see all this abuse online. It is incredibly unfair as everytime you try to stand up for yourself you are hit harder and more painful than the last attack.
    I wish there was a recourse but even providers of websites don’t honor their posted agreements. Facebook and GoDaddy are the worst! There needs to be some form of accountability for the pain and suffering that is caused by these people.
    I would greatly appreciate to be part of any organization or group that is trying to prevent cyber bullying on all level.s

  49. Cathy Storm says:

    I want to HELP educate. Educate the PTA, PTO, teachers, entire school employee populations, principles. Mainly the parents and students! The bullies need to recognize it is them who are doing the damage, the parents to realize their angels are not perfect, and all of us need change. We need to join together and have each others backs. If we watch the abuse, we are backing up the abuser, so we are then guilty too. I want the training you spoke of Dr Phil. Please use me… I am at your disposal. My daughter was a target of bullying, but now is nearly 30 years old. I handled it with confrontation of the children, school staff, my demanding ways are pretty strong. We insisted on facing the parents and children in a meeting ASAP. I made the children tell the parent what they did. Then gave my side view. I calmed down, apologized and went on. Then advised if it happened again I would take legal action, and I was serious, no doubt I would have. My daughter became a success throughout her school career and forward. She and I believe it is in part because she knew I believed in her and backed her up…. She trusted in coming to me about a serious event, and knew I would be there for her. Now Dr Phil, please let me help others whose parents for whatever reason, are not there – let me help you teach this nation to pay it forward and Stop The Bullying. Educate The Staff, Train The Teachers, Back Up The Children To Stop The Bullying…. Please Allow Me to spread the word and be trained to train them all with you. Cathy Storm of PA

  50. MAria P says:

    Im 28 years old and sadly, I was cyberbullied. I am making a pledge today, by standng against cyber bullying. This is is a crisis and people need to held accountable for their actions.

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