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October 25th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Bullied to Death

cyberBullyIf you think cyber bullying isn’t really that big of a deal, or just kids being kids, let me throw a few facts at you: More than 40 percent of kids in this country say they’ve been bullied on the Internet, and 35 percent say they have received online threats. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, cyber-bullying victims are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who have not endured such bullying. Since 2003, at least a dozen young people between the ages of 11 and 18 have killed themselves after some form of cyber bullying.

The Dr. Phil show has been inundated with letters and calls from kids desperate to escape these keyboard bullies — omnipresent, electronic stalkers who go after them day and night, destroy their reputations, if not their lives, and then log off their computers and disappear. For every sickening cyberbully incident you read about — such as the suicide of Rutgers University college student Tyler Clementi, after he learned a roommate had allegedly videotaped his sexual encounter with another young man and streamed it live online — there are at least a half dozen more that never make headlines.

It’s flabbergasting. When I was young, bullies intimidated with their physical size and words. Now, they have Facebook, MySpace, e-mail, texting, message boards, comment fields, blocked calls, instant messaging and chat rooms. And what these keyboard cowards can accomplish with those weapons is exponentially greater than what the old-school bully was once able to do on a playground or in the school cafeteria.

Under the cloak of anonymity, a cyber bully can wage an emotional and psychological war with a few keystrokes — disclosing personal photos, sending group e-mails with the intent of humiliating an individual, sending threatening e-mails, posting embarrassing or mean messages for others to comment on or share. By using false identities, a cyber bully also can make his victim feel that legions of other kids despise him or her.

In a matter of seconds, a cyber bully can completely destroy a fragile adolescent’s reputation. And what makes it worse for the victims is that there is absolutely no place for them to hide. In my day, you could at least get away from your attacker by retreating to the safety of your own home. Not anymore. Parents, think about it: Your child may be sitting at home, doing homework, reading, relaxing or watching television — just being a kid, and suddenly and relentlessly, he or she may start receiving taunting e-mails: “You’re ugly.” “No one likes you.” “We are going to beat you up tomorrow.” “We all wish you would just die.” “No one wants you here, so why don’t you just kill yourself?” Cyber bullies strike at any time, and they follow their targets everywhere — not only into their homes, but from school to school, even across the country.

And a cyber message spreads like wild fire. By word of mouth alone, a rumor might reach 20 people. An online posting has the ability to reach millions — even if it doesn’t, to the victim, it will feel like the entire world has seen it. Unlike the old days, when whatever was written on the wall could be erased or painted over, it is impossible to un-ring the “cyber-bell.”

Later this week, I will be joining Anderson Cooper on AC360 and again Friday for “Bullying: No Escape,” an AC360° Special Report with People Magazine and Cartoon Network, to address the impact bullying is having on young people in America. I’m sure there are many parents who still don’t fully understand its reach and how it may already be affecting their children. Too many victims suffer in silence because of the shame and embarrassment they feel. Others may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some decompensate and lose touch with reality. Their grades drop because they are afraid to go to school. Their friends disappear. They become even more humiliated — and yes, more isolated — as the harassment continues for weeks, months and even years. Too many of these children become so distraught that they turn to desperate measures and do the unthinkable.

Bullies, be on notice. We’re using AC360, Friday’s “Bullying: No Escape,” Special Report and the Dr. Phil show as platforms to spur a national movement to fight back against this growing, insidious epidemic. On Wednesday, October 6, the Dr. Phil show is bringing in a panel of experts to examine this disturbing trend, shining a spotlight on recent headlines to raise awareness, and taking a closer look at the laws currently in effect to hold bullies accountable. And then, we’re following it up with another show on Thursday to kick off our Anti-Bullying Movement.

It’s time to get to work. The lightning speed at which technology is advancing demands our immediate response. Our schools and parents need to start discussing the potential dangers of the Internet and the impact of cyberbullying with their kids; teach them a responsible way to use the Internet and make them understand that harassing someone online is just as destructive as tormenting them in person. We need to add language to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to give schools more power to crack down on cyberbullying, and provide counseling to not only its victims, but its offenders as well. It’s time to have serious discussions about what additional laws need to be written. For instance, if a victim of cyberbullying dies by suicide; to what degree should the bully be held accountable for that death?

More than anything, it’s time for parents to know the warning signs and get more involved in their children’s online activities. Know what they’re doing on their computers, including the sites they visit, the social networks they belong to, and who they’re socializing or “chatting” with. Monitor their activity. Don’t let your kids tell you it’s an invasion of privacy. As a parent, you need to know.

And your kids need to know that posting information that may seem funny or like harmless gossip, or even retaliation to someone who’s crossed them, could destroy someone’s feelings or permanently damage their reputation. Make sure your children aren’t tempted to cross the line and become, even ever so briefly, Internet bullies themselves. And if you suspect they are being bullies, don’t look the other way. Take initiative. Talk to them about why it’s wrong. As we must remember, just one malicious rumor can result in unimaginably deep emotional scars that can last a lifetime.

For those who may still be taking this lightly or thinking that cyber bullying can’t be all that big of a problem: Take a look at the faces of the children who have been bullied, and think about the moment young Tyler Clementi stood on the George Washington Bridge before he jumped, alone and devastated, his heart broken. It’s time to get involved.

If a friend or loved one is talking about or planning to take his or her life, reach out for help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

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154 Responses to “Bullied to Death”

  1. pam says:

    hey phil, just a suggestion…how ’bout having a “panel” of teachers from various public school districts around the country sharing “bullying” stories they have witnessed over the years and what they have done to best diffuse situations….

  2. Federico says:

    @pam: the point is that cyberbullying is now greater than normal bullying, and it isnt something teachers can solve by punishing the bullies they see at school. The bullying will continue as long as the kid has connection to the internet, a cellphone or any other type of contact with the world. That’s what makes it so disturbing. There’s little someone not involved can do. Teachers may help at school, but only a proper education based on the respect to others may end with this obscure situations.

  3. Deana says:

    Cyberbullying has to be stopped. Is there know way a law can be introduced against cyberbullying. We need to educate parent’s and kid’s on this. They need to know what to do and who to go to when this happen’s.

  4. Judge Tom says:

    Teens can learn from the experiences of their peers from “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” (Free Spirit Publishing, Jan. 2010).
    Teens have gotten in trouble over emails, blogs, icons, Facebook and YouTube entries and more. When they see what happened to these kids, they’ll think twice before posting a mean, thoughtless message.
    Take a look at “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” at: http://www.freespirit.com
    or on http://www.askthejudge.info (a free website for teens about the law).
    Respectfully, -Judge Tom.

  5. Bobbi Baker-Fernandez says:

    I have a 14 y.o son who is not hetrosexual, and hopefully NOT a bully. We have tought him from a young age to have empathy and compassion for everyone regardless of who they are. My question for you is what can one person do to get involved and help stop the cyber bullying. I have seen over the last several years of this getting worse. And want to help with stopping this.

    Thanks for you advice,

    Bobbi

  6. Heather says:

    Unfortunately I feel that cyber bullying is also common in adults! I recently have experienced bullying do to comments on a yahoo list. I feel people sit behind a computer and feel a false sense of security to lash out, and do not think about how much they can hurt another individual. People get a lynch mob mentality on the internet, as well as a false sense of security and lash out in ways they never would in a person to person environment. For people like myself who are extremely sensitive, this can lead to serious depression. My issue was on a forum of the one activity I love, and have participated in for 10 years. This was the one activity I used to escape some everyday serious issues, and I thought of the people in this community were my friends. The other problem is the internet opens to a worldwide audience, so you feel there is no where to go to escape. I feel I have lost the one activity in my life that brought me true happiness, and I lost people in my life who I once thought were true friends. I don’t know where to go from here, as we cannot afford to move (however not sure where we could go, as this was a forum the reaches all of the east coast), and I don’t want to give up this activity. I am personally devastated, and not sure where to go from here. People need to think before they type, and think about how much they are hurting others.
    Heather

  7. Faye Goodell says:

    I am watching your show on “Cyberbullying” right now. I have so many mixed emotions. I am so sad for the children that are being bullied. I am so angry towards the bullies. The bullying toward the gays and lesbians is so sad. And it’s done by the uneducated. Every human is born with male and female hormones. With the gays something got messed up. Just like with a child with Muscular dystrophy, or any other birth defect. They do not choose to be this way. But a bully is going to be a bully. It’s a lack of respect. Respect has gone from the vocabulary for a generation.Until we get that back, this is going to grow.

  8. Alice Stephenson says:

    Dr. Phil you are correct about PTSD from being bullied. My first post last night contained various flashbacks from being bullied into sadness in the past & recently to the point of utter sorrow. The trigger was seeing your Turning Point topic “Bullied To Death.”

    I am a suicide survivor and not everyone is so lucky to survive to Graduate College w/Honors or wake up today we’ve seen in the news in the past and recently. I wasn’t on front page and nobody saw me wake up in ICU to my dad saying, “Please wake up and eat something.” No, not everyone who attempts suicide becoming worst abuser finishing self off wakes up. Not only did I become my worst abuser… hard on those who counted, like my dad, who loved me. Dr. Phil is SO right you are never alone if you are there for you: BE THERE!

    Also, people need to not bully self picking self apart whoever taught you to do whether family, friend, stranger or one’s own perceptions of whatever trendy societal trait one feels does not measure up to… bullied by some imaginary standard. SO so true that sometimes we can learn to be our own worst critic. Realize, as Dr. Phil says, many models in fashion magazines are air brushed and a pseudo beauty.

    It helped me to realize to contemplate suicide from being abused or boo’d by someone projecting THEIR PERSONALITY FLAW onto me BULLYING ME… I became my own worst abuser to finish myself off. Recognizing this was an epiphany to me so I say don’t let any person, place or thing (or even you internalizing) EVER get you so down you become your own worst abuser contemplating or attempting suicide. Not everyone lives to tell you SELF MATTERS INCLUDES YOU so YELL IT, SPELL IT, yet most of all BELIEVE IT: SELF MATTERS INCLUDES YOU… Me too. WE too.

    How I move past is to realize how much of the present (how much time) I lose reliving so I time myself (last night I lost 2 hours). To go on and post that painful 2 hour post, now, would empower the pain so instead… my TURNING POINT, Dr. Phil, is that I am changing the channel in my thoughts to the positive of your son, Jay’s, Anti-Bully Pledge:

    http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/1156/

    I think All Dr. Phil Show and The Doctors Show et al Shows viewers…
    Every school and work place nationwide/worldwide
    Every website member worldwide
    Should take Jay’s Anti-Bully Pledge

    Alice Stephenson
    SUICIDE SURVIVOR
    Advocate of Emotional and Life Skill Education K-12
    (DAILY CLASS of age appropriate topics)
    PREPAREDNESS AWARENESS Education…
    Life is a team effort. Let’s all join the team taking Jay’s Anti-Bully Pledge
    “one for all and all for one”

  9. Lesley F. says:

    Maybe I missed it having been said, but a tool we use in our school system to stop bullying is trying to figure out why they bully. These kids are often from troubled homes, victims of either emotional or physical abuse ect. I have an 8yr old son and 9yr old daughter. Both of my children have become targets of a bully. The key for us to helping them in dealing with their bullies has always been talking and giving them the tools to end it. Our children will always have a voice that will be heard, they know how to stand up for themselves followed with our support. As well they are both very understanding and caring kids. I am proud to say not only do my kids stand up and speak out for themselves, they also speak out for the kids who are still afraid to stand up.

  10. Carmine Killey says:

    Just want to let you know. The Unitarian Universalist (People’s Church) of Ludington, MI is on the Side of Love. Gay’s, lisbion, transgender, etc people are welcomed in our church. We do not try to “cure” them. They are accepted like everyone is.

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  12. Carmine Killey says:

    Just to let you know. The Unitarian Universalist (People’s Church) accept gay, lesbian, transgender, etc people and do not try to “cure” them. Everyone is accepted with love.

  13. Molly says:

    Cyber Bullying is a major problem. Although I have never been cyber bullied, as a kid I was picked on in School because I was in “Special Education” So I was a “Retard” (accordng to the kids) Not many people believed that I was getting picked on as much as I was, let me tell you, getting picked on stays with you.
    Verba teasing can damge your self -respect, your self-esteem and after a while, you start believing everything those kids are telling you. I am sure there are some of you that will say “Everybody gets picked oin” Well I was that kid that the whole school picked on, I can count on one hand the number of friend I had in high school

  14. Angie says:

    Bullying and Cyber Bullying should be taking seriously especial toward those who are different from others. I know how it feels to be bully..I am still getting bullied alittle bit. Which is harder to explain really.First off I was bully by the way I talked and dress before something else. Since I’m 26 years old and been dealing with this since I been in jr.high and highschool cause I was different from others. I even got push into an marriage when I was 17 which didn’t work out. But I always knew I was an lesbian but I didn’t know how to tell cause I am scaried what would happen to me. And I still don’t none of my family knows cause I am scaried that my family would outcast me like I was in highschool. I do have depression cause I was diagoans with it a few years old. So I have thoughts of suicide but never really did it. My question is how can anybody talk about this to anyone especiality their family?

  15. Toni Skwarek says:

    Dr. PHIL I am so passionate about this subject. I am the parent of a gay son who came out to us when he was 18, he is now 20. Our entire family opened their arms to our son.As I have been on this new journey in my life, new title, ” mom of a gat son” I find it heart wrenching what these children go through with their own families! non excepting, sickened, and we can’t understand why we have bullies out their, they are the offspring of ignorant adults! Lets educate parent’s. The children learn from their parent’s, it starts in the home.My heart is so heavy for all the hatred against these children BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE! I think you need to have a panel of parent’s of gay children who just can’t except their child, and me who would reach out to them, if the adults do not get it, how the hell do you want children to get it! Let’s preach love and acceptance, not hate! Thank you for your time. The PROUD mother of a gay son. Toni

  16. Susan Cookus says:

    This is not cyber bullying or bullying because of sexual preference, but my story of being a bully in high school to a mentally challenged girl. When I was in high school we had classes for the mentally challenged. One girl stood out…she mingled in and out of the “non mentally challenged”. One day at lunch my friends and I were sitting at the lunch table making fun of this girl. My friend, Joe, Captain of the Football Team asked, “Is she really (at the time this was acceptable, I am 56) retarded? He picked his tray up and moved to a table to eat all by himself. This made a huge impact on me. Captain of the football team standing up for this girl! Joe died from a hunting accident our first year out of high school, but I think of him all the time and what a difference he made in my life by “standing up”! I have worked at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for almost 24 years and guess what type of patients I work with? You got it, mentally and physically challenged patients and so does my daughter. One person standing up for the kid being bullyed can make a difference! I pray all those kids out there can have a Joe in their life!

  17. Julie says:

    Any kind of bullying that breaks down a young person’s self-esteem is intolerable. There should be zero tolerance in every school, workplace, every family. To diniminish a person’s self-worth has lasting affects and certainly can lead to PTSD.
    Several of my dearest friends are gay, lesbians and transgendered. I love them because of who they are, not because of their sexual identity. If each one of us saves one person, we save the world. It’s so much easier to spread love than it is to spread hate. We are fortunate to live in a country with extraordinary freedoms, and with that right comes the responsibility to respect every persons’ right to be exactly who they are. I feel very blessed to be open to the universe and to be able to embrace every living soul with respect.

  18. Dara says:

    Dear Dr. Phil
    I wanted to let you know that your show today had a GREAT impact on me. I’ve been bullied my whole life and so many people just push it aside as childish fun. Its not fun. It is hurtful and incredibly painful.
    So I wanted to let you know that I am going to be taking action in my own community. I’m creating an anti-bullying group called “Stop the Pain, End the Silence”. I am hoping to use a ton of your resources to get this started as I want as much background on bullying as I can get. I want this to be brought into the light and have SOMETHING be done about it. I would love as much help from everyone as is humanly possible and I promise to keep you updated on the progress of my campaign!
    Thanks for everything you do!
    Dara

  19. Tina Moniz says:

    Now is the time for bullying to come to an end but it is a constant battle. Thanks to the internet, cyberbullying is one of the most harmful and devastating type of bullying. These cowards hide behind their computer and their anonymity to destroy people’s lives. They need to be stopped and if getting rid of these internet “social networks” is helpful then so be it. I am on facebook but I would gladly be rid of it if it helped discourage even a few bullies. And if we are naive enough to think that it is just kids that are bullying, then we are fooling ourselves because adults are also guilty of it.

  20. Jackie Huerta says:

    Dr Phil,

    I was watching your show on bullying and it appalls me. I truly believe that these bullies need to be held accountable. Not community service, not an ankle bracelet.This is a form of terrorism. The students who humiliated Tyler Clementi need to be prosecuted to the full length of the law. Oh yeah, there is no law. How do we make that happen Dr Phil? These people can not get away with this, they need to be punished. It is just as if they led this young man to the bridge and pushed him off. I am so sad. I hope people will really start to pay attention and make a difference!!!! This is an age old issue and someone needs to make a change!!!! Thanks for listening….
    J

  21. Donna says:

    My son was born with a mild to moderate case of cerebral palsy which affects his walking.He walks with a limp.However, he now uses his wheelchair.When he was in grade 10 he disagreed mildly w/ another older student in the hallway of the school while other students stood around listening & watching.Because my son disagreed, this student walked up to my son and punched in the face knocking off his glasses as he sat in his wheelchair….What happened next still makes m feel like I am getting kicked in the stomach. My son reported the incident to the principal who tookgreat meassures to punish this guy due to zero tolerance in school. What a joke..He got 3..three..days off from school.period. Punishment?More of a reward..Whrn I called the school,yes,I had to call them.I was reassured it was all okay..No police were called.No charges were made.This is only one of the bullying that my son went through almost dayly.A few weeks after the incident,my son went to thetrain tracks,waited 4 a train & then parked his chair on the train tracks waiting…..to die.A car saw a refection of his wheelchair & they ran to get him of the tracks which saved his life.Today,he is 20 & he started to drink to cope w/ the bullies.My heart breaks for him & for ALL the kids who are bullied for whatever reason they feel justified in for doing it. My son is a wonderful,smart,caring person with many talents who struggles daily w/ these haters/losers. MY God..when will it all stop???? Why do parents, teachers, students,etc turn their heads..Who will protect the kids from them? BTW,today my son is the bully…

  22. Thank you Dr.Phil for showing my beautiful son Christian, every time I see his face it takes my breath away and the pain comes flooding back for not just myself but his siblings and his aunt and uncle and his cousins , this is no longer something small this is a tragedy and it is getting bigger by the minute, I started a Foundation called the Christian Taylor Foundation and it is geared to bring attention to this growing problem that is taking the lives of our loved ones away from us, I welcome anyone who wants to help bring attention to this problem and I can be reached via email at ChristianTaylorsLaw@yahoo.com and to the other parents suffering with the loss of their children my heart is hurting and my ears are open email me anytime for I feel the same pain you do… Thank you again for the beautiful gesture of our lost loved ones and the seriousness of this growing tragedy that is crippling our country.
    Alise Williams Always and Forever
    Christian William Micheal Taylors Mom

  23. Brandi says:

    Dear Dr Phil. I have watched you for years now and I have seen many of your bullying shows about teens killing themselves over bullying. I agree bullying is a HUGE problem with todays kids, however I am on the fence. I have seen many shows yours and others and news broadcasts about these children who go to this extent to end their troubles. However, why are we making suicide look like the “out”?? We as a society are not holding these kids accountable for this action? Suicide is Wrong. No matter what your situation, someone is life has it worse. And only you have the power to change that. I do feel bad for these kids and familys that have been lost or have lost. But Why are we making examples of these children and they are only victims? Yes what they have been through is in most cases bad. But as a person who was both a bully and bullied, nothing should entitle you to hurt others the way suicide hurts others. I myself had a best friend who at 14 brought 3 loaded guns to school and killed our pricipal and himself in a crowded cafe. For years I stood behind him. “he was bullied, he was abused” I told everyone. But as almost 8 years have passed I realize that He made the choice to load the guns, to put them in a backpack and ride 25 minutes to school and remove the guns in the cafe and kill an innocent man and himself. He had to make that decision. No, not even that. Decisions. When these teens commit suicide, they make the many decisions to get to that. Instead of making the choice to be a stronger person. And ask for help. Im terribly sorry for the loss of anyone. And i feel for the familys. But we cannot keep making suicide look like the easy out!
    Thank you Dr Phil!

  24. Constance McCarthy says:

    As I watch your show on bullying of GLBT teens I am reminded of my many years teaching in public schools. I truly believe that one of the contributing factors to the problem is the number of teachers who choose to ignore the bullying and behaviors indicative of hate crime in schools. I often watched my colleagues say and do little or nothing when they watched students being bullied. Most often the teacher will speak to the offending student, but there is no consequence or accountability in those situations. It is the teachers who consistently provide a “safe” environment for all students that might be able to help. Unfortunately, that is not most teachers.

  25. Amber Pierce says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    Cyberbullying/bullyng doesn’t just happen to gay/lesbian teenagers and I feel like you covered just one side of it. You didn’t mention the straight kids, the disabled kids, the smart kids, the overweight kids and the band kids just to name a few categories. What about them? I was bullied horribly from 2nd grade til the end of my freshman year of high school. As a kid I was several of those categories. I was/am straight, I wore glasses, I was overweight, and was in band. Back when I was in school we didn’t have internet so bullying is even worse now that we do. It has got to stop. It even affects me some now and I’m in my 30s. It is hard to get over and more and more kids are comitting suicide because of it. It just makes me sad how horrible it is now. No one deserves this.

  26. Rathernot... says:

    Hi, Alot of people think that because we are young, This can never happen…. I’m 12. I have wanted to commit suicide many times…. But now… I Am better, I was bullied, Abused, And hurt. But I’m fine now… I’ve found a new life… Cured my depression, And found love…. There is Help. It sometimes isn’t from websites, or doctors. It can be from Many things…. My inspiration came from music… It helped me find the light… Get help… And .L.I.V.E. so now I am A L I V E , And proud to be… Just remember. To push and shove through the hard times… Because where there’s darkness…. always comes light…. <3

  27. Judy Hoyer says:

    Bullying, of any kind, begins with the example set by the adults whose behavior impacts the lives of others. Has anyone really listened to the political ads on TV of late? They’re not campaign promises; they’re a form of bullying which those running for public office are putting out there, at great expense, I might add, and impacting everone who watches/listens to their rhetoric.

    We’re teaaching kids how to bully, beginning with thsoe who are well educated andf have the moeny to buy time in the media.

  28. Dawn says:

    I think we are closing the barn door after the cow is out. While we need to educate kids to alter bullying behavior we must also take a look at where they are learning it. Children learn how to behave by mimicing the adults around them.

    After every awards ceremony the magazine covers and news reports focus not on who won what, but rather who wore what, including comments on those deemed “the worst dressed”. Is it any wonder our children believe that appearence is so important, and that comments are so nessisary?

    If a celebrity comes out their sexual preference suddenly becomes part of every interview they do. I wonder why our children learn that these personal private matters are acceptable topics for conversation.

    Britney “forgets” her underwear or Lindsey has a “wardrobe malfunction” and the media maximizes the exposure of the incident making sure no one misses it. So when a young man finds himself on the recieving end of a sext message of course he’s going to forward it on. That’s what adults do after all.

    Let a political figure get caught in a sex scandle and it’s all anyone can talk about for months. Now ask yourself, where do our young people get the idea that who’s sleeping with whom is far mor eimportant than any other current event?

    The WWF get two males shouting threats and insults at one another in front of a cheering crowd. When it comes to blows all the authority figure present do is encourage the crowd to cheer louder. This may have some influence on our young men’s opinion that combat is the way to settle differences, and also the new thrend of recording and posting it.

    Maybe while parents are talking to their kids about bullying they should also adress some of these issues. Hey Mom, the next time some gossip rag tells us about Phil and Robin’s inevitable divorce DON’T purchase it because of your right to know. Instead turn to your kid and say, “That’s probable not even true, and even if it is, it is none of our business.

  29. Dawn says:

    I think we are closing the barn door after the cow is out. While we need to educate kids to alter bullying behavior we must also take a look at where they are learning it. Children learn how to behave by mimicking the adults around them.

    After every awards ceremony the magazine covers and news reports focus not on who won what, but rather who wore what, including comments on those deemed “the worst dressed”. Is it any wonder our children believe that appearance is so important, and that comments are so necessary?

    If a celebrity comes out their sexual preference suddenly becomes part of every interview they do. I wonder why our children learn that these personal private matters are acceptable topics for conversation.

    Britney “forgets” her underwear or Lindsey has a “wardrobe malfunction” and the media maximizes the exposure of the incident making sure no one misses it. So when a young man finds himself on the receiving end of a sext message of course he’s going to forward it on. That’s what adults do after all.

    Let a political figure get caught in a sex scandal and it’s all anyone can talk about for months. Now ask yourself, where do our young people get the idea that who’s sleeping with whom is far more important than any other current event?

    The WWF get two males shouting threats and insults at one another in front of a cheering crowd. When it comes to blows all the authority figures present do is encourage the crowd to cheer louder. This may have some influence on our young poeple’s opinion that combat is the way to settle differences, and also on the new trend of recording and posting it.

    Maybe while parents are talking to their kids about bullying they should also dress some of these issues. Hey Mom, the next time some gossip rag tells us about Phil and Robin’s inevitable divorce DON’T purchase it because of your right to know. Instead turn to your kid and say, “That’s probable not even true, and even if it is, it is none of our business.

  30. todd says:

    I think the whole point of the bullied to death show was missed.The fact that teen and pre teens are sexaully active. The point that immature children can`t deal with realationships and others proves that being sexaully active at that age is nothing but trouble. Parents need to talk to there kids about sex, drugs, alcohal, and tabbaco.

  31. danielle says:

    I think that all the kids need to grow up. I dont think that the bullies realize that being bullied can happen to them and I know for a fact that they would not like it themselves for being bullied.

  32. Nancy says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I loved your show about Cyber Bully. I do believe it is an issue with kids and adults. Having been a teacher for a few years now, I see it happen, and it happened to my kids as well. It wasn’t the cyber but it was the bully. It happened at school and went straight to the school and made them do something. They found out that they had met their match, I did not work for that district. I think somehow more parents need to get more involved and more teachers need to be on the lookout as well. Communities need to come together and watch out as well. As the old saying, that it takes a community to raise a child, so we need to all come together.
    Any training that is out there, I would love to get it.
    Thank you again Dr. Phil,
    Nancy

  33. Alissa says:

    I have been bullied since I was 10. I am currently on facebook and tagged. I’ve had people tell me I’m white trash, I’m ugly, I need to drop dead, and that if they were to ever catch me on the streets they would beat me to a bloody pulp. I have told my dad about this and all he told me to do was walk it off and let it roll off your back. Which wasn’t easy. I blocked them, I haven’t spoke to them. And one day I was walking home and they all ganged up on me. I’ve told the police and they told me because there wasn’t a witness they had no proof that they did it. I watched your show and I thought I would ask for some advice. What should I do now? I’ve told an adult, I’ve told the police. I’m not sure if I can deal with this anymore. I’m tired of trying to be strong. It took all I had not to beat the living crap out of them.

  34. Dr. Phil this information on bullying is great. I just wanted to say thank you for that.
    I am now 20 years od but when I was in the 7th grade and up I was bullied. These young girls and boys have no idea how it feels when they hurt somebody else over and over again. I am pursuing a career in nursing and I am thinking about changing to a counsler fr kids. I have been through a lot in my short life. I know I want to make a difference with these kids. My neice is ten years old and she is being bullied at school. No one wants to help her out they all stand by and watch. It breaks my heart to see her go through things that i went through. She is a very stong young lady she knows that she has her family to turn to when she needs us. I just wanted to say thank you again for addressing this issue!

  35. Frank says:

    There is no deterrent for Bullies. There are no consequences for their actions. There is little punishment for their behavior. I hear you, Dr. Phil, about people signing petitions for language to be in educational papers, but they are not laws and I fear will have little consequence. Laws must be put in place to punish Bullies and their parents. Possibly some violation of a cival rights??? Hit them in their pockets, you will see change. Remove the right of the Bullie to be in school, you will see change. School officals with the guts to enforce the laws…wouldn’t that be a change. Guidance counselors pacify all sides to resolve the issue, not fully punish the Bully. Need to get hard on these Bullies and remove them from schools, make the parents liable for the Bullies actions. Thats the only answer! Get tough, get hard on these punks!!!!

  36. Alyssa says:

    Thank you Dr. Phill this is getting out of control ! People need to grow up and stop being so rude and hurting people. There not only hurting them but they hurt their friends and family. What kind of horrible person wants to make people kill themselves! This is so sad !!!!

  37. Jacqueline H. says:

    Hi Dr. Phil

    I’m now a 51 yr old women and was bullie up to my 12th grade of school. I don’t know what cbyer space bulling is all about, but I do know what kind of impact bulling can put on a person. My grandparents raised myself and three silbings. I remember not wanting to go to school because of the kids calling us names, wanting to fight, sometimes wouldn’t even let us sit down on the bus! You let these kids know that they all can overcome all of this! I still remember those days but that is what made me strong. My children were taught to never, ever bully anyone to always lend a helping hand to someone that was being bulling! Let these kids know do not let the bully have the power! All the power is theirs. Teacher this day and time have alot of laws to go by in which they can’t even teach our young people because they are scared they will make a mistake in which they will lose their jobs. I pray each and every day that the youth of our world will grow and be mindful of the things they do! On a funny note in the 12th grade I had my first fight ever in my life! I fought some of the bullies that was beating on my sister, although I knew it was wrong to do, but guess what We had no more problems with them! After getting suspended for a couple of days my grandmother took me shopping and brought me a watch! And that is something I’ll never forget!

  38. jrclervoix says:

    There is a great injustice going on in our democratic society and it is not been acknowledged. Such great injustice currently going on in this world and very little is been done to stop this mess. Young men are commiting suicide due to the nature of what society’s views and belief. 5 have committed suicde in just 2 weeks.

    I am an adult who is been bullied by my neighbors and I live in a community in Rye Brook/ Port Chester area where one would think there are too many educated families living here to indulge themselves in such actions. My neighbors went from harrassments to currently banging and slamming day and night because I live with my friend who is my ex. We have known each other for 14 years and dated for almost ten. I go to school full time soon to graduate while he works full time almost 6 days a week.

    Before I decided to move with him almost a year ago, primarily to help him because he had just went through over 300 chemo therapy sessions even then as sick as he was the neighbors still drove the poor man crazy till I decided to see for myself and could not believe what I was witnessing. I have been battling almost on a daily basis these sick and heartless neighbors.

    We wrote to the Management office as well as The Board of Directors and have gotten not even a response until just recently the situation turned physical where items were thrown at each others entrances. We then received a letter threatning us that this kinds of actions will not be tolerated while they have been neglecting our own letters and plea for actions as we get home very late in the night. I know a couple people who live in the projects and they don’t go through such nun-sense. My ex use to come to my apartment to rest because as He always use to say, “My neighbors are making my life a living hell and I am to the point of breaking”

    Although, One cannot dictate to anybody how to raise their children, it is simply humanistic to teach as well as raise and educate your children to understand the realities of life such as the good the bad and the ugly in life without having to instill hate in your children’s minds and hearts.

    Bullying is wrong no matter how one looks at it. Why is it alright for some children to pick on others who are different than they were raised to be and/or believed? It is simply because these kinds of pagannistic views and idealogies are been encouraged without using civility to come to understanding.

    If one feels gays and lesbians should not be part of this world then you might as well say reproduction in this life should not be because there are genetic factors which play major roles in how a person is going to grow up to be including the nurture/nature factors.

    Their should be programs to help redirect the sentiments as well as choices a person might make even after incest and/or molestation from same sex family members and/or family friends which by the way is still going on strong in certain parts of the world today.

    A young man with a bright future possibly the next Einstein or Plato or Beetwoven from Rutgers College; Tyler Clementi, committed suicide and the others who were fed-up with these senseless, pagannistic ideologies and views which is violating what our forfathers who pronounced the US Constitution as a way to protect human rights and to better the future of our society is now been discredited. People should be allowed to be themselves especially when they are not hurting and/or violating anybody.

    The shame comes into play because most gay and lesbian people have had some form of incest and/or sexual encounter in their lives at a very young age with same sex family members and/or family friends. In addition, there are Genetic factors that play a role in a person been gay or lesbian.

    We have been victimizing innocent people who have been innocent victims in their own lives all their lives. How can that be? How is that been tolerated, encouraged just so to fullfill some people’s views and ideologies on life. How can that be? How can that be?

    It is disgraceful and ashame to those who can put a stop to this and are doing nothing about it. Tyler Clementi from Rutgers university was well trained as well as possibly gifted in playing musical instruments. He took his own life due to a sadistic, thoughtless act of his roommate. May Clemente and all the others who took their lives rest in peace and may their family members find consolation to a better more understanding and hopeful future.

    Once again people are going around feeling above themselves with great pride and condenscending ideas to violate another and ready to put their sick ideas into motion simply because they were raised to think a certain way and/or are been encouraged to dehumanized, violate, disrespect and bully another person because that person is different. How can that be and when did we get to this state right here in America, the land of possibilities and the land that should promote and have been for many generations promoting freedom of speech, freedom of self expression, freedom to be all that one can be, etc, etc, etc,etc…

    Your happiness should not be based on another person’s lifestyle. Just because you are not content in your own lives does not give you the right to torture another and/or create maliciousness ideas into actions for another.

    Many cannot make the transition after they were first introduced to same sex coitus at an early age from sick and disturbed family members and/or family friends. You should be ashame of yourselves. You are an emotionless, untrained animalistic human being if you don’t see something is terribly wrong with this picture.

    I, personally would not raise my kids to be gay due to these injustices in certain part of the world. In addition, it is my responsibily to educate my children to be hard and militant in order to protect themselves from bullying as it is my responsibility to not create hatred in my childrens’ mind and promote compassion so they all can have a balanced understanding of life and the nature of people and/or groups of people.

    Why do those who are rich aristocrats teach their children about every aspects of life? They do that in order for their children to have some knowledge about everything in life and choose the way their lives will unfold.

    The following was stated on the Oprah community Board which I think and know makes a lot of sense:

    “Religion can teach what they choose. I just hope people realize that until the focus shifts from condemnation and judgment to compassion and acceptance, more children will die. People can believe what they like. I just hope they realize that one out of every ten people on the planet identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. How big is your family? Think anyone is hiding in fear because they are surrounded by the hate of religious beliefs being fed to them and other family members?”

    Peace – Love – Understanding – Unity – Justice – Love – Peace!!!

    jrclervoix

  39. jrclervoix says:

    Dear Dr. Phil;

    Some educator and college Advisors are also part of this mess as I was just recently singled out because I am not a flamboyant and/or feminine gay man. I have been accused of been a closeted gay man. I could not believe my eyes and ears when I am one to frequent gay clubs and gay outings. The school reaction was behind the fact that all gay men must be flamboyant and rediculous or they just wanted me to make a fool of myself in order to satisfy their sick and unprovoked need to humiliate me.

    I purposely always go to school with a mind frame to learn and to focus as playing got me in trouble after I graduated High School when first entered college which I didn’t complete because I was too busy playing the fields and partying too much. Now That I am focus on my education after years of ups and downs and inconsistencies in my personal life I am a threat for no apparent reasons.

    My academic Advisor bluntly said to me after I told her I just had a minor car accident. She bluntly stated, “You should have broken your neck.” She happens to be Jamaican just for the record and by no mean I am accusing all Jamaicans as Homophobic because I befriended a few Jamaicans who were much more educated than this Academic Advisor from my school.

    By the way she is also a closeted lesbian who portray that kind of outside hatred towards gay and lesbian students to cover and hide herself. Since I thought she was also a friend outside of the school, I have witnessed her approaching and staring at girls in very inappropriate manners.

    I had never had any discrepancy with her as a matter of fact I had just finished complimenting her wearing a well fitted black suit and I have on occasion been to her apartment to purchase Mary Kay for my sister, mom, and aunts especially on holidays and birthdays. How dare her!!! How in the world people get that kind of sick need to try to torture and humiliate those who show no threat or disrespect.What ashame for such things to be going right here in America and in our schools.

    HOPES AND PRAYERS TO END IGNORANCE FROM THOSE WHO ARE BRINGING THEIR OWN CULTURAL DIFFERENCES TO THE UNITED STATES!!!

    jrclervoix

  40. Jan Nash says:

    You can be sure that teens are watching the Supreme Court case arguing that the fundamentalist church has a right to BULLY people at funerals. The laws need to line up here.

    That case is an extreme example of hate-crime bullying! Dr. Phil, notify the Supreme Court that you and yours are watching their decision. Bullying must be stopped–at all levels.

  41. Dear sir, I watched your cyber bullying show. It was disgraceful, what the children were doing. All that name calling and pushing some one around. Then, as I watched TV. I was forced to listen to more bullying on TV. Why would anyone expect the children not to bully? When all day long. Hour after hour, you hear congressional canidates belittle and name call. Some almost with treasonable language. This one is a liar, this one is a thief, this one takes care of himself, but won’t pay taxes. this ones rich, this one spends millions of his own dollars to get a job that only pays, a hundred thousand. This one is not qualified, because his not rich. This one belonged to the KKK. This one never was in the the service. This one was in the National Guard. This ones not a citizen. This one was a POW and never saw the war. On and on and on. Please Dr. Phil, you can’t stop the children until you stop the adults.

  42. Susan Walker says:

    My grandaughter who turns 8 tomorrow came off the school bus yesterday sobbing because another child on the bus who has been tormenting her for the last four months called her a fat as a whale. My grandaughter is blond, blue eyed, tall, sweet and very smart. My daughter called the vice principal and told her of the situation who in turn the next day called my grandaughter in and spoke to her. She also called in the other child. She then went on the bus that afternoon and spoke to the bus driver and the children riding in the back of the bus.

    If this is effective we’ll have to wait and see but the damage is done as far as my grandaughter’s self-esteem.

  43. Lisa says:

    Let me understand this…..a mother has an ELEVEN YEAR OLD daughter who is being cyberbullied? I have 12 & 13 year old daughters and would NEVER allow them to be on social networks, for this very reason. Why did Dr. Phil fail to question the mother related to this issue of parenting. I think that it is completely inappropriate to allow children access to the internet in that way. It is difficult to encourage children to have healthy communications with people because of texting, why would a parent encourage a child of such a young age to spend her time in front of a computer peering into other people’s lives. Dr. Phil, for this one time, I am disappointed you gave that mother a pass.

  44. deb marley says:

    Iam 52 years old but i will never forget how I was bullied (made fun of) I went through a hard life. right now iam back to myself, but it took a long time for me to get rid of it. What i want to say is I was diagnosed with depression, after I did 3 suicide attempts. But i got alot of help through therapists,psychologists, and programs I went to for 12 years. So what i want to say is i have been through the experience of bullying And i want to tell those innocent young people when something happens to you and you feel like you are being bullied, just think that you are better than they are because all they are is troublemakers. And keep thinking of positive things about yourself, your family, and the friends you know that you can trust. And beware of the ones that i will call (the great pretenders). and remember with them type of young people you will always be better than they are, because you got a good life ahead of you, their’s is going downhill.

  45. corey says:

    The parents need to stop the bulling cause those who are bullied end up killing them selves and that s just not right why would anyone do that to a poor kid. the parents need to tell the kid that you need to respect people no matter what

  46. Colleen Mason says:

    Re: Bullying
    I have heard, too many times, that verbal abuse is worse than physical abuse.
    It is the same! Physical abuse can cause trauma and injury to the body which may not show up for weeks, months or years.

    I feel when the issue of abuse is being discussed, medical problems associated with the abuse should also be included in the discussion.

  47. anjanette says:

    I’ve seen the bullying episode on your show it angers me I’m a single mother of five children And I don’t take any mess from any child toward mines when it comes to bullying My methods are my own. Children go to school for an education not to be bullied ,my children have had problems with other children using the N word ,and calling them ugly and throwing things at them ,And I don’t tolerate it I speak with the school at first ,then if that doesn’t do anything I talk with the parents if they don’t do anything about the situation and there just ignorant I make police reports and take it all the way ,Once I had to threaten the mother and father of the child to cease there child from bullying mines that worked I know that wasn’t the way to go but ill be damn if someone’s child will abuse my child verbally or physically .And the parent takes no responsibility .And I let my children know that there beautiful smart children and that friendship doesn’t require them to feel ,as if there useless .

  48. Janice says:

    Dr.Phil,

    I am guardian of my 11 yr old grandaughter. She is a delight, love of my life. I just moved her this year to a new school due to bullying. She attended a Catholic school, with a class size of 12 students. Eight girls, 4 boys. The entire school enrollment was very small. I sent her to this school thinking she would be safe. Wrong. There was one student who was the bully of the class, and all the girls did whatever she said. My grandaughter stood up to her and said that she (the bully) was not the boss of her. From then on my grandaughter was excluded from the girls group. This began in the 3rd grade. However, I can remember that it probably started sooner, my grandaughter was very ill and in the 2nd grade she had a kidney transplant. She missed alot of school, making it hard to keep connection with the classmates. When she returned most children were receptivie of her, some, the bully, not. In third grade I began seeing her grades drop, her moods change, she was more withdrawn from us. I asked questions and she told me that a classmate didn’t want to play with her. She stated that all the girls would not play with her because of the bully. She began to not like going to school, not participating in events. I was told by her doctors it could be all the medications she was taking or there could be other issues. I asked for a meeting with the principal and teachers. I was told what a delightful child my grandaughter is and that “girls will be girls” in regards to being excluded from the group. I was told that it is part of growing up and that my grandaughter should “toughen up” and things will get better. Well, guess what, they didn’t get better. I saw a bright, happy little girl turn into a shy, withdrawn, sad and defeated child. That is so wrong. It made me look back to the years by boys were in middle school. My oldest son had been bullied and we thought he had out grown the issues. He did not. At age 25 he committed suicide. The scars stilled remained with him over the years, not on the outside, but on the inside. If I had only been a better parent. That is where it all begins, with the PARENTS. Be in watchfull eye of your children. Know the who, what, where and when of your child at all times. Know their friends, and parents of friends. Communicate with you child on a daily basis about all they do. By no means give the third degree of questions but keep it light keep it fun, get to know your child as well. Parents you know if you have a bully in your home, be it dad, mom, son or daughter. End it now. If you can save your child, why not save someone else’s. The bullying has got to stop. If each one of us can save a child, think what a difference we have made in the world. Start at home, Parents, reach out to others, prevent the bullying, prevent the suicides, save those who can’t save themselves.

  49. Robin says:

    I watched your show about Cyber Bullying and find it horrifying…I went to the website to print out the paper for me and my daughter. To my delight my daughter has already highly aware of these terribly actions and is not just standing by but taking action

    I learned on her facebook page she has on October 20th there is RIP day for the recent suicides due to gay abuse. Wear purple, also called Spirit day..In addition she is having a silent walk out of class on the 10/15 third period.

    In addition a couple of years ago Virginia Maiwald who worked at Bernal Intermediate School in San Jose took a very strong stand on this type of bullying and had inservice days for staff and also for parents.

    Parents just need to be very vigilant and aware of what there child is doing on the computer, friends and outside activities…

  50. Linda says:

    I listened to the program and some of what was said I don’t agree with. I don’t agree that the teachers don’t know how to handle it – they don’t even try. I am sure if it was their child all of a sudden they would know what to do. They need more funds, more time, more ed on what to do yet kids as young as 1st grade know what to say, how about STOP, that is not appropriate in my class. If teachers would just say something, anything to show disapproval but no they pretend they didn’t hear, didn’t know and that is not true. I agree with the above comment from a teacher who has seen it from the inside and comments that most teachers do nothing. It is out of control and the reason is that schools have fallen down on the job, let it continue and fluorish, now we have this big dangerous mess, in many cases fatal. Schools have let this happen. Many parents have gone to teachers and admin staff and begged them to do something for their child and absolutely nothing happened and when questioned about it as in the Prince case – they simply deny knowing anything about it. There was a mother and daughter on the Oprah show because the daughter was being badly bullied, the mother had gone to the school and spoken to the principal many times, she had written letters. The Oprah show contacted this principal and he denied even knowing these people, wasn’t sure who they were talking about, didn’t know them. This is the usual. There was a school dance 2 days after the Prince girl killed herself, so what does that tell the parents of this poor child and all the other students. The bullies were allowed to attend and to continue the bullying even after her death. The principal worte a letter of “ah too bad” and as far as they were concerned – end of story. This is also the usual. As a parent just being in the school now and again and from what my kids told me I knew who was being bullied and you think the adults in the schools don’t know. It an excuse, it is a community problem, it is a home problem (it always it and has been proven that is the no. 1 excuse) as usual it is everyones fault but theirs. How long can we put up with these excuses? As long as they are making the excuses and there are no consequences nothing will change. If the parents are responsible then the adults who are in charge of keeping a safe learning enviroment are also responsible. When it has been docuemented that they were informed and still did nothing then what are the consequences? In the Prince case, absolutely nothing, they all still have their jobs and on they go. The whole display put on by that school was nothing short of criminal. The “expert” on the show only used their new buzz word, community, community, she woudn’t even say the word principal, school, teachers, staff except in the case of needing more funs. To help a child being bullied all you need is to care and strongly show disapproval, we expect that from the 3 grader but not from the adult staff?? The teacher sets the tone in the classrooms, the principal sets the tone in the school and that is what has gone wrong, it’s been a free for all. Often teachers will side with the bullies and on rare occasions even join in. It all depends who the bullies are if there are any consequences at all, even a slap on the wrist. School staff have way too much power, answer to no one, and set their own rules. Now not only do we have really low test scores, we have an epidemic of curelty and bullying going on daily and really nothing at all being done to stop it.

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