Home About This Week On Dr. Phil DrPhil.com
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).

Tags: , , , ,

154 Responses to “Bullied to Death”

  1. Genevieve says:

    Dr. Phil, I was just watching your show from last week about Bullying with Dara, you showed a comment from a middle school principle who said the school does not get involved with it if it happens off school hours. I am FURIOUS about that!!! The schools DO get involved if it involves sports!! I am pretty sure if there is a football or baseball player or whatever sport they may be involved with, the students have to sign something saying they will not smoke or be involved with drugs and if they get caught anywhere at anytime they get suspended or even kicked off the team! I cannot believe that any school would turn their heads to this. I have so many thoughts running through my mind right now I can’t even think straight enough to type it out!

  2. ShannonC says:

    Hi Dr Phil, I also just got done watching you show from last week. All I can say is WOW!! I do not care if you are gay straight bi transgender or pink with purple poka dots no person should have to live like this. Growing up starting in elamentery school I was bullyied, however we did not have the technolgy we have now back then so when I came home it was my safe haven. I to believe it is up to are educators to see what is going on and step in. That poor young man that had to hid under his desk and cover himself up with his jacket!!! Where were the teachers, teacher’s aids, ect… For our schools to fall back on well it is a fine line we can not cross if it doses not happen during school time is bull. Where do you think it starts. The bullys just do not look up a name online and say this one looks good to pick on. I can not just blame the schools. Parents need to know what your child is up to. no offence but saying you don’t know how to work the computer is no excuss. If you have no idea how to work the silly thing then do not have it in your home. Even take a class on how to use the computer before you bring it home. Cell phones children do not need them. You should know where your kids are at all times any how. If they are at a friends house you should know the number school functions they have phones there as well. Parents know what your child is up to. you may think they are old enough to keep things from you but they are not. They need you to guide them into the right things and if they don’t that there is going to be recource to there actions. Your child has friends you need to be the parent. For all the bullys out there. THINK about what you are saying. You may think it is funny untill somone gets hurt. Then you may look real stupid when the law steps into handle it and you just thrown your life away for a few laughs. Was it worth it to bully someone do you really think better of yourself? I am so sorry for this rant but after hearing about the young lives that have been lost and the young lives that have even had to think that killing themselfs was the answer to ending the problems is unthinkable. Help is just a phone call, teacher support group, parent anything away. Stand tall and proud for all you are. There are good people that believe in you. They are just waiting to help!! Much Love to you God Bless

  3. Kadie says:

    Here’s my question….what ever happened to parents being parents and actually monitoring their children. Want to keep your kids from being cyber bullied? Keep them off the computer. It’s just that simple. My children are not not allowed to even have access to a computer until they are old enough to pass a drivers test, which is 16 in Virginia. Once they have access, I monitor where they are and what they are doing and I have every single password to any email or social network site they have until they turn 18. If they disagree, they lose all access. Simple as that. As for the schools being involved….please, give me a break! The schools can’t even function teaching without requiring homework to be done with the internet, how can we realistically expect them to step up when a problem occurs when they practically force children to have internet access? And if your child is being bullied at school, stop calling, emailing them and go directly to the principal and guidance counselors there. If that doesn’t do the job, go directly to the other child’s parents and inform them of what is going on. Few people realize their kids are bullies and can put a stop to it much more effectively than the school can. And finally, teach your kids self confidence and encourage them to have friends. Kids who have a fairly large group of friends are less likely to be picked on than loners. Children should be socially interacting with other children from a young age so that they learn early how to cooperate in group settings….thus the playgroups and preschools for children now.
    In the end it all comes down to actually being a parent to your child and not letting anything else interfere in your relationship with them.

  4. Theresa says:

    I am a 43 year old, mother of 3. We live in a nice suburb in NJ. I want to add my opinion on bullying. I disagree with most of the suggestions that were made to these children who are being bullied. I feel that if a child dosen’t defend THEMSELVES that they will be bullied even more. Going to the principal or having parents involved will only make the Victim a Victim over and over again. Do you remember the movie Karate Kid? Parents didn’t go to the bullies and discuss the situation with them. They taught the child how to handle it for themselves. Believe me, I would love to be involved and help my children with everything they do or say. But I can’t, they have to learn life’s lessons for themselves. In our local school they tell the children if someone is picking on you in recess don’t fight back or you get lunch detention also. They tell them they should give an adult an EYE MESSAGE. Sure while your being pushed and kicked or teased you should give an eye message. Ha, what a laugh. If a child who is being bullied fights back the bully will for sure back off.

  5. Linda says:

    I watched the show as well and I feel a lot of what was said isn’t quite right, even those “experts” don’t seem to fully get it. Rosline Wiseman interchanged the word “community” for “school” throughout. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, community, community when the word that should have been used was “school”. There is a big difference between a school and a community. No one in a community has access to you for 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week, for 12 yrs of your life. In the community you have a lot more rights than you have at school as we are finding out. If your neighbor beats the hell out of you or makes constant threats you then call the police. It might end up when you have your day in court. This doesn’t happen in a school….there is no recourse whatsoever. As we saw in the P Prince case, if you came to a public meeting to talk about the problem at the school you were excorted out by the police. Public education is a monopoly with absolute power. Have you any idea how many people have to sell their homes and maybe leave a job just to get their kids out of a school? Schools created this by doing absolute nothing about it for years and years, it has been allowed and in some cases even encouraged by staff either by picking sides themselves or just turning the other way and encouraging it by their silence. Now I understand that one of the acused attended a sports even at South Hadley and a big deal was made by welcoming him with open arms. What message is this for all the students? If you are being bullied, deal with it, they are not going to do a thing about it and even if the law steps in, doesn’t matter, they are siding with the bullies. In this case that is obviously what happened all along, that is pretty obvious. Now the teachers need extra time, funds, and lessons to do their jobs or to even just be decent and help a student out when being bullied. I think it is all nonsense.

  6. Patricia Lassiter says:

    Dr. Phil – lots and lots of info on bullies and bullying – HOWEVER – Bullies and Bullying have been with us for all humanity. Jews were bullied by the Germans, my parents were bullied because they were Polish, I was bullied because I was fat (I’m 62 and still recall being called Fatsy Patsy). My sister was bullied as a school bus driver by children of the opposite race. I was bullied when I was a social worker by clients. I have been bullied by attorneys when I represented cases in court. And the ultimate and best known of bully situations was that of our Lord Jesus – no one was more bullied that he was – to the point of beatings and death and of course, all those who followed him were bullied as well. The point is, there have always been mean people who do and say mean things – somehow we have all survived and moved on – is it the fault of the schools? Heck no – its our fault if we don’t instill positive self esteem and adoring love in our children so that they can survive any and all attacks from whatever source.

  7. Doug says:

    I am a fundamentalist Christian and I am stunned at this “Bullying to Death” thing.

    Christ made it very clear in his ministry on earth that forgiveness and compassion is to be given; certainly not bullying and/or slander.

    These misguided ones doing this behavior are the really sick ones and are desperately in need of help.

  8. Doug says:

    I just read a post about some Supreme Court case about Fundamentalist Church having the right to bully homosexuals at a funeral.

    I am a Fundamentalist Christian and I know that bullying homosexuals ANYWHERE is against the teachings of Christ. Christs ministry on earth made it clear that love, tolerance and compassion is the way.

    There may be SOME fundamentalist Christians or Fundamentalist Christian churches who believe that it is okay to bully . . . however, there theology is flawed. I challenge any Christian to show anywhere in an accepted interpretation of the Bible where bullying is justified.

    I say “accepted interpretation” of the bible because there are rough interpretations of the bible (not accepted as accurate) that state homosexuals as well as adulterers and several others should be put to death. There bibles are just plain garbage and no authoritative biblical scholar would approve of them.

  9. apv1994 says:

    My husband’s niece committed suicide this past weekend in Pennsylvania. She was only 15. The family is beside itself with grief. She was a beautiful young lady but also a tomboy. From what I have found on Facebook, she was bullied for being a tomboy. I’m not sure what happened to send her over the edge but it is so sad that she had to take that route. Something must be done to stop these senseless deaths!

  10. Christine Rogers says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I work mainstream hours and was not aware of your anti-bully series until tonight.

    Please let me tell you my story…..

    My daughter, Ashley, was to turn 16 August 13th of this year. That did not happen because she took her own life in April. She had made mistakes in the past and was in the process of changing who she was, as all teenagers do in some way or another.
    I first want to tell you about Ashley. I am biased but believed she was absolutely beautiful. She was an AG student since 3rd grade making A and AB honor roll every year. She was extremely creative. She was artistic, drawing manga and painting. She easily learned to play the flute and was in the process of learning the guitar. She LOVED to dance. She said it made her feel alive. She was practicing for a school musical the week she passed away. She danced at school every chance she got as well as taking dance classes at night. She talked about going to college and the places she wanted to visit around the world.

    Now you have an image of my daughter. Now lets talk about the last few months of her life….

    Due to the mistakes she had made and events that had occurred in the past, Ashley experienced depression. She did not feel accepted by her peers and was ridiculed and called names. She was harassed via a networking website where messages could be posted anonymously.
    We had her hospitalized twice within 3 months. She made half-hearted attempts and we were not taking any chances. During the last few months she seemed to be responding to the therapy and medication.
    April 8th she received harassing text messages from 2 boys. It appeared they wanted her to have sex with them and she told them in no uncertain terms “NO”. They continued to harass her throughout the night into the next morning. They went as far as telling her “why don’t you just kill yourself you fat cow”. I found her crying that night and told her I would go to the school. She begged me not to. She was in fear of retribution from the boys.
    On April 13th I received a text message from Ashley telling me one of these boys had spit drink in her face. I talked with the SRO and got nowhere. I went to the school and spoke with the asst. principal and was assured it was handled.
    The next day, Ashley stayed after school to practice for the upcoming musical. We do not know what happened that day but Ashley absolutely refused to go to school the next day. As parents, we stood firm and told her she was going. She was angry and stormed off to her bedroom. We gave her a 10 minute time limit to cool off then went to talk with her. We found her hanging in her closet. That was the absolutely worst moment of my life.
    Ashley was our gift from GOD. I miss her everyday. I know the bullying she received at school was a major part of her choice to take her own life.

    I pray we can put a stop to the bullying that children are experiencing. I also pray we bring awareness and prevention to teen suicide. I have gone public and spoken at the school board meeting as well as a local legislatures meeting in hopes of getting the laws changed and bring awareness to the increasing numbers of teen suicides.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Sincerely,

    Christine Rogers
    North Carolina

  11. Beth Johnson says:

    Hi Dr. Phil,
    Hooray that you have taken up the cause against cyber bullying! It is finally getting the national platform that has been long overdue!

    Our daughter was bullied her freshman year. The bullies were at “CHEER CAMP” when they decided my daughter would be the target of their harassment.

    So what did we do as parents? We got PROACTIVE right away against this BAD behavior.

    First we taught our daughter how to record voicemails and phone calls coming in on her cell phone. We also gathered up phone numbers that were coming in.
    We INSTRUCTED her to save and print off any printed harassment.ie; text messages, Facebook pages and comments, myspace, emails, blogs. This “investigative work” ACCOMPLISHED two things. 1. It took her out of the isolation of the bullying and namecalling, her focus had shifted to catching and recording their bad behavior, not on the names they were calling her. 2. It gave her a sense of power over her bullies instead of helplessness that so many victims of bullying experience.

    Once we finished “gathering” our evidence we turned these things over to the school. They took it very seriously and not only called the girls into the office but also contacted their parents.(the girls ratted each other out pretty quickly when it was one on one in the principal’s office). The administration met with the girls and their parents and gave them copies of the hearassment and had them all listen to the obscene and vulgar messages that had been left by this group of girls. Needless to say once these bullies realized how much of a “harrassment” it was to harrass our daughter they gave up…there was no benefit…no pay off for them anymore.

    We felt VICTORIOUS! So what can parents do? Get aggressive and right away. Once the bullies realize they are outnumbered and not only are the victim’s parents involved but their own parents are aware of the bad behavior, the bullying stops. Parents should not wait around and take the attitutde that kids should work out their own problems…this is too much for any 13 or 14 year old child to handle alone. Sincerely, Beth Johnson

  12. Laurene says:

    It disburbs me reading/watching media showing the popluarity on “Cyber-Bulling” I personally, feel if its too dangerous to have your child on the web at any time. Maybe the result of that would be to shut down Facebook and Myspace until this settles itself. I dont know but, right now students needs more protection at thier school. Teachers even Princials i dont think they take this kind of action seriously. Hello, when the parent are at work supporting thier child, Its the school job to make certain that this ordeal is stopping itself just in time before anymore sucidial attempts are being made further than it already has in the past month. I dont understand why pple try to ignore this prob. they say “theres nothing we can do” Wrong, this is ALWAYS something you can do. I’m looking at how may teens/elementary students cant take the peer pressure so they give the bullies the satifation that they got to theyre victims? WHY?!? The victims are reacting to this it only makes it bigger because then the bullies have more to feed off of who theyre getting too. This is nonsense It has been questioned yrs ago and still is wondering If school are safe for childern/teens anymore? No one has yet to find a solution to this prob. I’d hate to see anymore reported going through this anymore. Please do everything in your power even if you or the schools/parents starting directing this prob. to the president himself idc wat it takes MAKE IT STOP PLZ!

  13. My2cents says:

    I worked in a profession in which I worked in many schools settings at a time. My personal observations/theory:

    1. In schools, if bullying is happening, LOOK AT THE ADULTS! If it is rampant, you will find that there are adults in the informal power structure. It may be teachers bully each other, maybe coaches but not always. It may be parents bullying other parents, it may be principals bullying teachers. These adults feel it is a natural part of childhood. It can be in practical jokes (which is often one sided) to more cruel actions to prove their power. The tail tale sign is the response “they need to get a sense of humor”; “lighten up”. No empathy.

    2. Often in Middle schools and High schools there is often an unspoken “cast system” among teachers, coaches and principals where “desirable” students are given a pass especially when it comes to bullying. All other students are given minimal attention.

    3. Kids take their cues from adults (teachers, coaches, and parents). I have seen huge difference in two schools (actually just miles apart0. One school was all about sports (1/2 the building was dedicated to sports). Teachers didn’t know most of the kids names except athletes, cheerleaders or scholars. Another school (worst team in the league) best school for MAJORITY of students (by the time kids hit High School more than 70% kids are not in sports). Every teacher I talked to not only knew the name of ANY student I asked about, they could tell me about the family in detail.

    4. While adults have the power (not always) to leave or remove themselves from situations, children are TRAPPED & Tortured day in and day OUT in a school setting. Promises of it stopping by graduation is meaningless when the pain is day in and day out. Columbine, the kids were just days away from graduation and getting out.

    5. Signing a commitment will be as effective as signing a “no sex” commitment statement.

    6. Only when there is a cost to bullying to the parents (loss of income) maybe have to pay for the moving cost of families when they have to move, it will NOT END. Or a cost to the by standers. Just don’t know how you do that. It seems un-American.

    7. Change the culture of the school where all adults (coaches, teachers and parents) are held accountable for their actions to EVERYONE.

    7. My final statement is that based on my experience with workshops to teachers, is the adult bullies will just make fun of the workshop. These people need to get it or lose their Jobs.

  14. Ann Flanigan says:

    Please Please Please help-vote, this is a great opportunity to help stop Bullying in the USA!!!!! This Martial Arts Institute would TEACH adults how to stop the children from bullying in schools and other places!******* We need to be in one of the top two spots to get the money from Pepsi to finance this! http://pep.si/d2Jg6s

  15. Paula Goad says:

    I am a school teacher’s wife , my husband and I moved to a small town in Missouri to take a job and we have been bullied since we moved here. I know we should have moved but we needed the money and can’t move because of loss of income. The bullying has become so bad that I was attacked in my front yard while cleaning up toilet paper been thrown at me by teenagers dressed in black. The school administration endorsed the teenagers going from house to house vandalizing designated people, especially teachers since this has always been done during homecoming. I am still reeling from what happened next. As I was down on my knees cleaning up another round of toilet paper a group of teenagers at least 8 came at me and pelted me with rolls of toilet paper and screaming obscenities at me. If my husband had not heard the screaming and walked out the front door , I don’t know what they would have done. I called the police but they are corrupt and said it was the school’s idea. I am of course a nobody, just a poor old school teacher’s wife so I know it wasn’t worth their time. The last police chief here was caught driving 90 down the main street high on meth. He was fired but still given a plaque for his years of service. The mayor is being investigated for punching a lawyer’s wife in the face. Bullying has been my life since I moved here. I have tried to buck up and endure it until my husband turns 65 but I feel like I can’t take much more. If you think bullying is only going on in the school you should try to move to a small town and also have a teacher as a husband. I saw your show on bullies and it does not stop when you are 18. This is the most helpless I have ever felt in my life. This town thrives on bullying outsiders. My husband and I have to stick it out until the Spring or we will not have medicare hours for our retirement. We will not be able to afford healthcare otherwise. I feel the pain of the victims now more than ever. I know that there is no help for poor people when it comes to this. Just one more year and we can move. Believe me old people are bullied more than teenagers, by teenagers and other young adults. And people hate teachers. Thanks for letting me have my say . It’s a hard cold world out here.

  16. Susan says:

    These incidents of ruthless bullying are indeed horrifying, and it is because teens can be so vulnerable to this kind of brutal treatment by cyber-bullies that I have NEVER gotten an email account for my son. He is a special-needs young man, who is very sensitive to what people may think of him, and bullies are doubly cruel to anyone with ANY kind of handicap.

    To this day, my son is perfectly happy without an email account, nor does he know or care what Facebook, MySpace, etc. is. If he goes online at all, it is for some school assignment, and I log him on with one of MY screen names, where all IM’s are blocked, and I check all my emails first. I see no need to change that, since he is fully protected from these cyber-bullies. The way I see it, the bullies can’t torment teens whose existence they know nothing about. I fully intend to protect my son by keeping it that way.

  17. Nolan says:

    i am a great fan of Dr. Phil, but i have a few things to add about the subject. From what i observe and saw on your show gave me a few ideas about this. The laws need to be created for everyone. The kids at a young age are the most important and that is only done through continuous mentoring. There should be a social class in school and teachers and parents need to communicate about the child and never keep it quiet. We must address any small form of bullying before it gets worst. the bullies need to learn empathy and everyone must communicate and stop what is happening. The parents should not pick on co workers in the work place and political leaders should not bash other opponents during campaigns. We need to spend time on the issue by addressing the effects of it. The bullies right now need to be helped and not put into prisons because there not developed in the brain to understand it completely. they should be reading many books and learning about how to be a better person. in a controlled setting for pretend be feeling what the person may feel. then discuss how the victim feels and what the bullies feels to combat the effects.
    -thanks

  18. Alison Moxley says:

    It’s so sad that these things happen. I think of the Tyler Clementi’s of the world and I wonder how many more people we will lose before this stops. There should be criminal penalties for cyber bullying.

  19. Laura Howell says:

    Cyberbullying takes on many ugly faces. For my daughter, it took on the face of expicit pictures that were made to look like her. Fortunately, we are able to prove that it isn’t her, but the damage has been done. Her grades are slipping, her depression is worsening, even though she knows she has not done anything wrong, these pictures circulated around our small town and everyone saw them. It took FACEBOOK 2 weeks to take the page down and by that time, we had already had to have our local police patroling our neighborhood because of the pedophiles that were stalking my 17 year old daughter. The investigator working the case was forced to stop the investigation because the Deputy Prosecutor said it was “a waste of his time” to try and prosecute something like this, and refused to give us a subpeona to force FACEBOOK to give up an IP address to the people who created this account. So, now I have a 17 year old that is afraid to leave the house, that has been impersonated and exploited on FACEBOOK (they put her phone number and hometown/high school on the page). These people have gotten away with it, and will do it again and there is nothing we can do about it. Nobody will help us. I sure hope she doesn’t end up a statistic like all these other kids I am hearing about, before we get the help we need. It just tears at my heart to think about the torment she is facing, and it scares me to death to think about what could happen to her. It’s not the registered pedophiles I worry about, it’s the ones who haven’t been caught. So, Mr. Prosecutor, when I called and I asked you what if it was your daughter and you said to me “it’s not my daughter!” and hung up on me…..GOD forbid this ever happens to your family.

  20. Patricia Robinson says:

    As U can see I’m not a child, but I dropped out of school B/C I was bullied+ teased so bad,
    I was over weight, no hair, poor, gay and I had a target on my back.
    So after my mom died in 1963, November 22. I didn’t have anyone who really cared.
    There were younger kids. So I walked out and never looked back.
    I became a tough + rough person on the out side.
    but inside I was scared of the world. 17 years old. No mom. A father who could care less.
    I watched the beatings at home of my mom. So I said no one would ever beat me.
    My mom allowed the beatings b/c of her children.
    I never allowed me to ever love.
    I was a twin, 2 of us. And four other girls.
    I guess most of the family did not wish to be bound by a gay person. So when I ran no one ran after me.
    I was a drug addict for 31yrs. Homeless, and over burdened by a sense of shame.
    I was lost b/c I didn’t feel I was wanted. I felt everyone looked at me with Why’s in their eyes.
    And the bullying want on for years. I became a mean person in order to live.
    In a world where men felt they can heal you with sex. Women looked at me as if I was a freak.
    Today Im a happy person, Im still a large person,
    but Im trying to stay the course and don’t allow meanness in my life.
    Right now where I live, there is a 24 year old girl making my lie uncomfortable. For what reason I don’t know Im 62 years old and still I feel like someone is bullying me.
    When Im away from the apt complex I feel so much love.
    But as soon as I return. I feel 16 years old again. She screams and yells everything has o be her way. Or no way. And those around her egg her on by not saying, she should stop acting that way. One of her friends says she is just being a Tenn. Girl. Everything is irritating to her. Yet the noise we make in the day time, that annoys her so much, she makes at 3am on the other side of her blding where other people are trying to sleep. Its as if her wrong is right as long as she does it, but if someone else does it she see’s their so called wrong. I walk my dog. One day I didn’t have a leash on her just for a moment. She came running out side with her dog. Yelling there is a leash law. But the guy under her doesn’t even own a leash. Im black she say African American so nasty its as if she is saying the NNN word.
    She doesn’t clean up after her dog. She is so prejudice and doesn’t hide it. When I moved in I asked her to move her car so we could get the truck in she refused. And never did move it. So we had to walk what we could of drove up to the door. Im trying to be a great person in my life today. I believe God wants me great. I have 2 books out of poetry I write about life, they call me the Lifeteller.
    1. God gives me these stories to tell
    2. If you don’t read this book, by Patricia Robinson.
    Im trying to live my life in sobriety but people like her make a addicts life hell.
    Like I said I dropped out of school b/c of the teasing in school. I shouldn’t have to live that way today.
    Im trying to deal with who I am. I say this no one should be bullied, at 6, 16 or 62.

  21. Patricia Robinson says:

    Bullying should be a crime
    When I was in school it was the same way-to the bullies we were targets everyday.
    I was over weight so I was how the bullies spent their time-I say yes! Bullying should be a crime.
    Those boys and girls who enjoy this kind of fun-are hurting our daughters and sons.
    Running, pulling, tripping and pushing in the hall-and standing back waiting for the weak to fall.
    We don’t really know what this bullying does-I know bullying is not the same as love.
    I know the bullies hurt can go so deep-to the point our dreams are riddled with abuse even in our sleep.
    So to the parent of that bully that thinks its all in fun-how would you feel if it was your son.
    Your son locking himself behind doors-scared to walk hard even on his own floor.
    Or your daughter who has lost her smile-dying inside her own denial.
    See we need to pay attention to our kids-as they talk softly trying to hide what they’ve did.
    Those little angels who are proud of stealing another kids soul-those who are keeping our kids from being brazen and bold.
    Bullies can be the worse stain on society-and they are hurting our babies.
    So when a child says your son is doing wrong-we better listen to the song.
    We better listen before its too late-and the child being bullied turns fear into hate.
    And picks up a pipe or a gun-and goes after that angel you say is your son.
    Your son that you wont believe would bully that girl-is becoming a stain on this world.
    Because those being bullied will get tired one day-and that little angel will have to pay.
    Pay with jail time or with his life-because the bully hides it so well we don’t see him strike.
    Even children can be good at wrong-and they get better as others kids go along.
    Because the more that follow, the greater the need-pushing, shoving is how they lead.
    We need to know how our children spend their time-I say yes! Bullying should be a crime. Patricia Robinson1/23/08-7am

  22. Hear! Hear! Kadie!

    Parents need to tune in more to their children. Maybe then, children will not be so reluctant to open up about what is going on in their lives.

    Parents! Parent Your Children!

  23. Roedy Green says:

    I am 62 now, but when I was a teen, the anti-gay messages were so hateful I decided to commit suicide on my 21st birthday by drowning myself in Deeks Lake.
    (I was giving myself time to try to find a “cure”). Thankfully I met some supportive straight people who helped me understand I was not alone. I wish Dr. Phil had been around back then to take strips off the mean-spirited Christians trying to convince all us gay teens to kill themselves, the way he did on Anderson Cooper tonight.

    I have been active in gay lib since 1969. The good news is, bigotry is now national news. It used to just be the prevailing atmosphere, not worthy of comment.

  24. Roedy Green says:

    Things are so much better today. In BC, in 1969 a man murdered another by smashing his head with a boulder until there was just an unrecognisable watermelon-like pulp left. The accused confessed he did the deed, but that the victim deserved it because he was gay. The victim had made a pass at him. The accused was acquitted, with not even probation or anger management counselling.

  25. Crystal Cabot says:

    Regarding Cyber-bullying and Tabloid websites: I don’t read them, but think the jerks publishing these belong behind bars.

    The idiot on today (11/11/2010) looks and acts like a common pimp. SHUT THEM DOWN, make new laws, equivalent to child pornography laws. Lock these abusers of their internet priviledges in a prison somewhere, where they can’t hurt people.

    NEW LAWS, Please….

  26. Loretta says:

    Dirty.com should be taken off the internet. We have enough to deal with without kindling people’s hatred for others. The owner of the website is a misogynist and he really does not love Shane. She is only an armband for his filthy site.

  27. Audrey says:

    I am so disgusted with the many websites that publish lies to hurt or embarrass another. This guy that’s on today is so cold. I can’t believe he has no feelings for the people he posts on his site. This needs to stop!

  28. I noticed Nik had huge poc mark scars on his face from apparent acne as a teen or young adult. I think he likely was teased himself relentlessly at some point (or even had a childhood fueled by put downs by his parents) and therefore has become the bully without a conscience. A normal, healthy person would not/ could not do what Nik does and not care how that affects others.

  29. Joe says:

    Regarding Cyber-bullying and Tabloid websites: Dirty.com should be taken off the internet. It hurt me to watch the owner say how he ran his site and would not except it was wrong to do. Only wish there was a law that him and other sites like his could be held reliable. Law lets him hide behind others actions that are hurtfull in ways that end in desaster. That lawery is all so making tons of money on the same stands set on Dirty.com just to stand up to a bully that has the law behind him. Bullying is bullying and no excuse should be tolerated by anyone.

  30. Christina Trevino says:

    Bullying of any type is unacceptable. I was a bully as a child in elementary school. I realize now why I was a bully. It was because of the toxic environment at home. To this day I regret how a treated “Jason.” I have created a Facebook group titled Bully No More – a safe place to talk about anything relating to bullying. My hope is to be able to let all people know that bullying is not to be tolerated and we need to work together in order to help those who cannot help themselves. Let’s spred empowerment not defeat.

  31. Rose Henderson says:

    My brother in law bullies his parents. Every time he walks in you can feel the tension in the room. He bullied them into putting their two houses in his name so when they pass away he can profit off of them. He did the same thing with his mother in laws house, which he is now fixing up to put on the market because she has passed on. My fiance and myself live in a house that is owned by my soon to be father in law. He gave the vacant house to us as a way of helping us make it in this tough day and age. Much to our surprise he passed away suddenly October 4th. There wasn’t any will or paperwork putting the house in our name. My mother in law (to be) told all the boys (7 of them) that the house belonged to us and that’s what mom and dad both wanted. Well out of the woodwork came Tom (not his real name). Tom said you have to pay for the house even though we have been living there for 12 years. We have paid his parents over the years more than $3,000 until one day dad said stop. We can use that money for other things that the house was ours. So now Tom so far has charged us $1800 to have a contract written so that we will start making $600 a month payments, TO HIM. We have no choice in the matter except to move because he bullies his mom into doing what ever he wants. With the house being in his name he can kick us out at any time. So bulling can last a life time, I am a prime example.

  32. I THINK BULLING CAN DRIVE SOMEONE TO KILL THEIR SELF THE PEPOLE IN THIS WORLD IS SO BAD……………………..THATS NOT GOOD

    PS LOVE YOUR SHOW

  33. Beth Young says:

    Dr. Phil -

    I have been in an anti-bullying progam here in Cleveland OH for ten years (Creating a Safe School). It is based on the Ophelia Project from Erie PA. It was started here as a project of the community involving parents, children, the schools and school administration. It involves high school student mentors who work with 5th grade students teaching them the language of aggression; verbal, physical and relational. We give the 5th grade kids words to use to describe the actions of the aggressor. We also help the kids in the middle (who are scared, stuck and silent) to stand up for the victim. We really try to teach them not to make the bully the victim but to also be inclusive. This is a community issue which really appears mostly at school because of the opportunity for bullies to pick on kids when adults are not supervising them: at lunch, recess, gym, in the hallways. Some of the parents are bullies and teach their children how to bully so they can “succeed in life.”

    The bottom line for me is it is a community issue to be solved and not just a school issue.

  34. Rachel says:

    My experience with bullying started as a child in school & also through my working career. I really do believe bullies have a low self esteem & feel threatened because you have nice qualities.

    I think there needs to be harsher penalties. It kills your mind, body & soul. I don’t understand why bullies are not arrested. If you were to bully for example the police force they arrest you. What is the difference??

    I have been hit, verbally bullied & even finanically bullied by my manager. When does it stop?

    Bullies are ignorant and need to stop.

  35. chels* says:

    Dr. Phil,
    i think its really great that your standin up for us teens especially the gay people. bein bullied isn’t right no where around it; and being gay we always get the joke put on us. the more people talk about us the more i wanna fight. violence has become a huge part of my life now that i’ve came out about how i am. it’s like when someone makes a joke about it i have to defend myself or someone else. everytime i turn around im fightin with someone. bullies are people that can’t get happy with their own life so they take it out on all the people around, and the ones that they know they can make fun of because the world does not agree with the way we choose to live our lifes. standin up for the way you wanna live your life is important to me. when i moved schools and things came out; the first thing that happened was a fight, my mom had to come to the school and stand for me because the school even tried to discriminated against me because i was gay. bein gay is not a choice if i could go without bein gay i would because its not a life i would want anyone to live but its the way i am. i cant change it. i can only stand for it and stand for people who are bullied as well. because if we dont stand for one another then who will stand for us. im watchin your show as im writing this and it really touches my heart with the way you accept all of us no matter what.

  36. Debbie Crawford says:

    Thank you for your show on bullying. When I was 12 years old, I was bullied in the spring semester of my 5th grade year just because I was the new kid in class. I was pretty, smart and always dressed nice. But, my dad worked for one of my classmates’ father. Her dad hired my dad with false promises. He promised my dad would be able to be off work on Sundays so that my family could go to church (my mom didn’t drive). But then he always showed up on Sunday morning just as we were getting ready to go to church and gave my dad a list of things that had to be done. He would apologize and promise it was “just this one time,” but he came to our house EVERY Sunday with another list and apologies. We lived far from a town of any size, and my dad was working as a farm worker. He had no union or support to confront the man. For months, our devout family simply could not go to church. That caused me a lot of sadness because I had recently been baptized, and in my heart and mind, I had truly accepted the responsibility to be faithful at church. I had always gotten so much fun and fellowship at church. Now that was missing, and I felt ashamed that I was not in church. I honestly remember crying because I didn’t understand why we couldn’t go. At the same time, the man’s daughter was cruel to me at every opportunity. She loudly pointed out my shoe size (I was already wearing adult shoe sizes); she made fun of the way I played basketball, (I was struggling because I had never played basketball before and most of the kids had a couple of years experience); and she took every chance she found when the class did physical activities or played team games to mock me and make sure I was chosen last. Only one girl was brave enough to try to be my friend, but I was so hurt, I didn’t freely reciprocate the friendship. In that very small school, my tormentor had intimidated the whole 5th grade. I was completely alone and ruthlessly tormented each day at school. I came home crying many days, and then finally just became quiet, withdrawn and depressed. My parents were struggling with financial problems, and with the way my dad was being treated on the job, so even tho they were aware of how miserable I was, they felt powerless to do anything about it. We only lived in that area and I only attended that school for about four months. But, the bullying completely changed me. I had been confident, outgoing, and fearless around people. But, all through the rest of my school years, I was shy, insecure, extremely self-conscious and afraid to trust kids at school. Without meaning to, I realize now that I perpetuated that kind of treatment throughout the rest of my school years, because I had been so deeply hurt that the torment became my expectation. I lived three other places before I graduated high school, and I had some later successes and proud accomplishments both in athletics and academics. I learned to play basketball and became a 1st string guard on my junior high team. I was salutatorian in my 8th grade year, and I graduated in the top 1/4 of my class in high school, and went on to college. But, I wasted a lot of time in college just trying to resolve the hurt I had received in the 5th grade classroom. I no longer had the energy and focus to do my best academically, I just did what came easy and tried to stay invisible and avoid ridicule. I had a few well chosen friends, who were much like me; smart, capable, and decent people, but out of the social mainstream. I am now a 55 year old, married grandmother, and I have lots of joys and I have beautiful children and grandchildren, and I eventually finished college in 1995 after dropping out in my earlier years. I have alot to be thankful for, but when I stop and remember the pain I went through all those years ago, I realize, that hurt has affected my whole life in some very big ways. It affected my choice of a spouse and it still affects my marriage, my health and finances today. It affects a thousand smaller choices I make each day. Do I go in someplace confidently or do I go forward full of fear? Do I expect to be accepted and have great friendships, or do I expect to be publicly humiliated? Do I volunteer my talents for a community project, or just remain passive and uninvolved? I have done both the positive and the negative over the years, but I am angry still that my easy confidence was taken away and has never returned. When I get involved and do something, it is the exceptional day. When I walk in with confidence, it is a strong happy day, not everyday. I sing at church with my church’s praise team, because God in His graciousness made it a thing I do with love and abandon. I am blessed. But, I still remember the hurt, and I am angry that so much has been stolen and so many things that should have been simple were complicated by my wounded, frightened heart. Thank you, Dr. Phil for highlighting the sharp, constant pain bullying causes. I know my story is not unique.

  37. Lynda Stein says:

    Growing up I heard these things over and over. It is quite simple. 1…Golden rule Do unto others as you would have them do unto you 2…If you have nothing nice to say dont say it at all 3…Do not judge someone unless you want to be judged yourself 4..Never ridicule someone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes 5….Live your life and let others live theirs. Remember all it takes is for one person to not like something about you and the tables will be turned. Instead of being the bully you will become the victim, remember what goes around comes around. Peace on earth good will toward men Happy New Year

  38. Lynda Stein says:

    I hope that everyone can see my comment Life is way too short to be hurting others through bullying it has gotten way out of hand

  39. Mark says:

    Hey Chels*!!! Great message!!!! The older you get, the better it gets!!! All your old family and friends end up accepting who you are, and your new ones chose you the way you are!! Only advise I can offer, is just make sure, if you happen to end up walking through a red neck neighborhood late at night, that you have a cocked and loaded gun by your side!!! If it looks like any of them are gonna bash you, aim for the heart or the face!!! And get as many of them as you can!!! Self defense after all!! ;-)

  40. chels* says:

    hey mark!
    thank you; and i can only hope it gets better from here. my family tho, i dont really know if i even care anymore if they accept me; i mean they should have aceppted me to start with. and the people well my life was fine before em and ill be fine after em lol and oh i already know people are always discriminating. but im not scared i fight for who i am even if that means takin and throwin some punches. (:

  41. thomas says:

    Dr Phil great topic, but I am sorry I have to ask this question. You talk about students bullying other kids never right, but to cut to the chase, What about teachers doing the bullying? I never would have believed it but I am seeing this first hand now that my kids are going to school and have exhausted most my resources trying to stop it. any suggestions?

  42. Marissa says:

    Hi Dr. Phil. I am a senior in High School. I watched your show on bullying, which is a subject that affects me. It seems that most parents and teacher think that bullying is in Middle and High school, which it does. But that story was different for me. I was bullied in Elementary school. It happened every morning at the bus stop but ended at school because the kids that were bullying me were in the grade below me, about two years younger than me. The lead bully was someone who I thought of as a friend, and here he bullied me and had the younger kids join in. The lead bully was in the grade above me, so he was a year older or so. I was only bullied at the bus stop in the morning, and I was bullied because of my emotions. Each morning they would come up to me and call me a cry baby. This harassment got so bad that I had thought of suicide, but I did not want to hurt my family and friends with my death, so I refused to kill myself. I prayed that it would end, and told no one of the bullying. When I finally told my mother, she told me that she did get a call from my school telling her that I said one school day that I wanted to die. I was bullied for about three years, and it stopped once I got to middle school at age 12.

  43. Dr. Phil, I feel that America’s youth is totally out of control due to lack of parenting. This lack of parenting is fostered by law makers telling parents how to discipline their children. A smack on the hand or standing in the corner for harming another person, being disrespectful or breaking things is not acceptable. I do not in any way condone harsh or extreme punishments such as hot sauce and cold showers for lying. That is extreme but what I am saying is that a good spanking never hurt anyone. I had several growing up and I turned out pretty good. I am a Paralegal, a big sister with BBBS, crisis counselor with CVAN, and a Child Advocate through the courts. I love children and believe that through love, guidence, leading by example, mutual respect, and kindness that children can grow up to be productive, respectful adults. They will believe in themselves as much as you believe in them !

  44. Marlone Nel says:

    Dr Phil I live in South Africa and I just watched your show on cyber bullying. I think we are a bit behind with our shows but nevertheless I was shocked at how these children act and the things they say. These are CHILDREN they are still so so young and at that age they are making death threats!! This is shocking. It seems like bullies are bored of just targeting kids at school and that they aren’t getting the desired affect at school. I don’t think they realize how serious their threats are and they seriousness of the situation. Those kids or committed suicide are DEAD they are gone, they aren’t coming back or this isn’t some kind of joke. Do they realize that THEY killed this person the blood of that poor victim is stained on their hands and who gives them the right to tell someone else that he or she should end their life??? They are not God and they have no right over that victims life. These children need serious help and are probably victims themselves expressing their pain in the wrong way. To all those who are victims to these MONSTERS please please hang in there and don’t give in you have a much much higher power on your side you have God.

  45. Teresa Andriske says:

    Dr Phil I live in Australia & am responding to your story on bullying in schools in the U.S. (Story about Dara etc.) Bullying in Australian schools & on the internet is a ongoing issue for children & parents.
    I am very disillusioned about the ongoing talk about the effects of bullying on the Worlds children, in Australia there is a self-esteem program for children and families, I was able to do this program when my children were attending a rural school of only 50 children, it was run by a wonderful principal of another little rural school that felt the whole community would benefit from the program, the results were a caring community, bullying was not an issue.
    A Self-esteem Program would help stop bullying, a person with good self esteem is hard to bulljy, any thinking person knows that, what we have to teach our children is to respect each other and themselves. This is a global issue, children living in a so-called civilised society, witness their countries bullying of other countries, witness parents bully others on the roads, talk about others behind their backs, the human ego is totally out of control, until we return to reality & I don’t mean Kadashian stlye reality but the reality that comes from fundamental human decency, we disrespect the things that are traditional & the things that have aided human survival & respect money, material possessions and techology more than people, it is very sad for this generation, they may have better techology but they lack the important human quality of empathy. So sorry to generalise but that has been my experience. My mother was a white woman and my father was a Fijian man I was born in 1957 educated in Australia and had intensive bullying and name calling at school, at which I was the only child of colour making me the target of both children and adults. My hope is that some brave and influential educators can instigate a program that injects positivity into school communities. I believe if all the school is involved in a self-esteem program
    bullying would be harder to perform & get away with, the school would be more productive, happy & qould see education level rise. It may be my personal dream but it is a dream that could happen if enough people dropped their egos & tried to see the other persons point of view. I feel like a voice in the wilderness but I know this could work if we let it.

  46. Lisa says:

    I love the Dr. Phil show, have watched him for several years. I often wonder and wish sometimes he could advise us on our situation here at home, but I highly doubt that will happen, but we will continue to watch the show. We recently (about 2 years ago) had an episode with a bully. I have a 19 year old that’s extremely shy and has been judged and mistreated very badly in the public school system. We had even had him homeschooled because of it in his senior year of Highschool. Before we moved he went to another school district and we found out several kids had bullied him to the point where he freaked out in school because of it (Being bullied). When this happened the school principle, had called me and confronted me told us his behaviour was unacceptable. This has still furious to this day, why they never did anything to the other party involved. He was confronted by a girl in the lunch room she had asked a sexual favor in front of him and several other students. The girl that confronted him, never even got in trouble for the act. Yet they let her dress like she does and continue to do act like in school. She’s apparently very popular with the boys in that school. The teachers that watched didn’t do a damn thing about it. He’s been traumatized ever since. So because he freaked out in school, they reported us and forced therapy state funded therapy because we didn’t have health insurance.At the time, they told us he’d been stalking this girl and the teacher’s lied about it. The teacher’s even got involved called my kid a drama king and let them get away with lying about the full story.

    When we saw the therapist again, he tricked us and tried to have him committed to a rehab facility, here in Ohio. Naturally, we refused to go. He suffers from extreme shyness and depression. It’s gotten the better of him to the point where he’s even afraid to go get a job. He’s on other medication for it but his anxiety sometimes overwhelms him to the point of pure frustration. All of this because, being bullied in school and teachers and kids that judge don’t get any discipline for the actions they bring on kids like mine. It just down right pisses me off, he’s still suffering from it today. I watch kids like Alexandria on TV, with her pain killer addiction and all of the support she gets, yet kids like mine suffer because we can’t find the support we need to get them. So they are labeled and judge by society, for freaking out in the public school system because of bullishness.

  47. Jamie Jones says:

    I really think that it is pretty cowardly to say something about a person on the computer instead of saying it to their face.

  48. Kimi says:

    I was bullied myself as a child, and let me tell you, it’s no cup of tea. It’s mean, it’s disrespectful, and it does lower peoples self esteems. I think schools need to get more involved in stopping the bullying before it gets out of hand.

  49. Is My Youngster A Bully?

  50. Mary Somme says:

    What do you do with bullies in the workplace? We work with a a supervisor who is a bully. Just today another person resigned because of her. Everyone knows about this bully – even her supervisors, but no one will do anything. what do you suggest?

Leave a Reply