Cyber Bullying Affects Valley Teens - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Cyber Bullying Affects Valley Teens

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KALISPELL - Authorities are trying to get a handle on a new kind of  bullying that's sweeping through Flathead Valley High Schools-- cyber bullying.

Experts said the Internet bullying can affect students, physically, mentally and academically.

The old adage says, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

That's the case for some students here at Flathead High School, but for 16-year-old Hailey Kelly cyber bullying has taken her on an emotional roller coaster.

"It's actually almost the worst feeling ever, knowing that you're going to come to school the next day and everyone saw it,"  Kelly said.

Hailey Kelly is an ordinary teenager attending Flathead High School.

She is social, enjoys school activities And gets above-average grades.

Hailey's world came crashing down when a friend accused her of stealing and posted accusations on her Facebook page.

"People's comments after that you just feel bad about yourself, and then you go home, and you think ,oh they saw it to, like what do they think now,"  Kelly said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cyber bullying is very common among teens.

In most cases, victims range from 10 years old to young adults. Cyber bullying occurs more often on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

"All of the friends have access to each person's homepage on Facebook and that way when they're interconnected  when one person says something derogatory about another person whether they are friends or not all of the other students have a chance to like or dislike,"  Resource Officer Cory Clarke said.

Hailey isn't the only student at Flathead High who was victimized by cyber bullying. Freshman Student Jacob Hadley said his worst cyber bullying moments started back in the 5th grade.

"They talked a lot about my looks and said I looked dorky made fun of me a lot about that,"  Hadley said.

Jacob said those words took a toll on his life and affected him emotionally and academically.

"I got sort of depressed and I didn't feel like I was worth anything and it was really depressing,"  Hadley said.

Experts said cyber bullying can happen 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Kids can be reached even when they are alone. Clarke said the first step to recognizing these issues among teens is for parents to be involved in their kids' lives.

"They have to be able to be converse with Facebook with the smart phones,"  Clarke said.

The support group is set to open next school year.

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