'Powerless' to stop bullies

Last updated 05:00 01/02/2013

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South Canterbury bully victims have spoken out after a survey revealed parents and teachers are powerless to stop cyber-bullying.

According to television reports, a survey of about 2000 high school students has found adult intervention can be counterproductive.

Jess Wilson, who commented on the Herald's Facebook page, agreed.

She was 19 when she started getting threats via emails.

"It went on for a while and they were pretty graphic and horrific and the police were powerless. I was told that they would have to physically assault me pretty much before they could do anything."

She said she was "pretty sure" who the culprits were and believed they were not a threat to her physically.

"But it is scary. Someone that takes that much time out of their day to harass you, you start to wonder what else they're capable of."

She said, going by her experience, adults are powerless in dealing with cyber-bullies.

"As much as you want to protect your kids - if someone decides to attack them there's not a lot you can do except the usual: change your email and Facebook and make sure they know to keep things private."

She said she would love police to have the power to trace the comments, seize the computers and phones, and press charges.

Anthony McBride, a website moderator, monitors the abuse that goes on.

He said he tries to make sure everyone is fair to each other and tells them off when they are being nasty to another member.

"It is difficult not to lose your temper with the many idiots who think about no-one but themselves though. I usually warn them twice and ban them on the third time they break the guidelines."

Another Herald Facebook follower, Brucie Raines, offered a range of options to help prevent cyber-bullying.

"Turn off the phone and put it away, or blacklist unwanted people texting, etc. Restrict internet access to homework etc only, and keep your child off things like Facebook and supervise them."

He said he did not believe parents were powerless.

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- The Timaru Herald

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