Cyber bullying: How to get unwanted content off Internet - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Cyber bullying: How to get unwanted content off of popular social networking sites

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Unfortunately for some, when school starts back, so does the bullying.

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook connect people in more ways than one, and it's not always a good thing. According to a study conducted by the I-safe Foundation, over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been repeatedly bullied through their cell phones or the Internet.

One local family reached out to News Leader 9's Brittany Dionne about a teenager who was being bullied online. The family declined to go on camera for fear of backlash, but they did ask a question that many families across the country may be asking as well: "What can I do?"

On August 7, reports of a British teen reportedly hanging herself, allegedly due to cyber bullying, made headlines. 14 year-old Hannah Smith was one of countless teens around the world who have admitted to being bullied.

"I think it's not just turning off your computer, because once you see it, you start thinking about it and you're not going to forget it for a long time. It's just going to be on your mind," high school student Maria Gomez said.

According to statisticbrain.com, 33 percent of teens in the United States have reported being threatened on the Internet, 25 percent say they've been bullied through their cell phones and online, and 50 percent remain silent about the abuse.

With over 600,000 "likes" on Facebook, Family Safety Center is a resource created by Facebook itself to help parents and their children navigate the social networking site as safely as possible.

We emailed Facebook to find out what they try to do to combat bullying on their network. A Facebook spokesperson responded, "We offer resources and tools for teens, parents, teachers, law enforcement and the greater Facebook community. Bullying is a violation of our Terms of Service and we will ban users, if necessary."

The Facebook Help Page says users can also report bullying and learn how to block and de-friend users.

"Harassment has never had any place on Facebook and will not be tolerated. We have always actively encouraged teens and parents to report incidences of bullying using the links located throughout the site, we remove all content that violates our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and we escalate reports of harassment and bullying to law enforcement as appropriate," said a Facebook spokesperson.

Here are a few tips from helpguide.com for anyone that is a victim of bullying of any form:

If you are being bullied, remember:

Don't blame yourself. It is not your fault. No matter what someone says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel.

Be proud of who you are. Despite what a bully says, there are many wonderful things about you. Keep those in mind instead of the messages you hear from bullies.

Get help. Talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult. Seeing a counselor does not mean there is something wrong with you.

Learn to deal with stress. Finding ways to relieve stress can make you more resilient so you won't feel overwhelmed by bullying. Exercise, meditation, positive self-talk, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises are all good ways to manage the stress from bullying.

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