Special report: Cyber-bullies have direct access to your children - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ursula Madden

Special report: Cyber-bullies have direct access to your children

Mark Neblett knows words can kill.

His 17-year-old daughter Rachel took her own life last year after being taunted repeatedly by an internet bully.

"That person, whoever it was, knew every move she made," says Neblett.  "Started talking about what she was doing at school, where her classes were.  Then the last letter that we got, or she got, stated that they weren't going to put her in the hospital, they were going to put her in the morgue."

In October of last year, Rachel committed suicide in her parents home.

"To her, this was just overwhelming, " says Neblett.

Natolyn Dunigan, Deputy Director of Pre-Trial Services in Shelby County says cyber bullying was unheard of five years ago.

"Five years ago, we did not have this," says Dunigan. "For some reason,  people think contact is physical contact.  But contact is contact!  Directly or indirectly and what they usually do is call or text message."

Cyber bullying through e-mail, web-sites, and text messaging is on the rise.

The Memphis Police incident database shows dozens of intimidation complaints from victims who say they were threatened through internet websites like MySpace, e-mails, and text messages on cell phones and blackberries.

Dunigan says victims actually have an advantage when they are cyber-bullied.

"By being a text message or an e-mail, it's easier to document what is going on," she says.

Dunigan says keep records of the threats, report them to police, and follow through with an order of protection.

"Better to be safe than sorry. Come down, give a statement and let someone know what is going on, " she says.

Because what's going on with your children, could push them to the breaking point, like it did for Rachel Neblett.    

"Another family shouldn't have to go through what we went through.  They shouldn't," her dad said.



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