NJ teen charged with cyber-bullying

August 5, 2010 6:36:13 PM PDT
An Annandale teen is facing charges for cyber-bullying after sending a message on Facebook.

Investigators claim the message was so bad, they're calling it harassment.

Police say, the harassment began and continued on Facebook. A 15-year-old girl posted several threatening comments on another teen's page. Eventually the girl was charged and will head to juvenile court.

High school senior, Syndey Rowe, has become accustomed to cyber-bullying as a part of school life.

"It causes a lot of drama girls get it in their heads and it affects their self confidence," said Rowe.

Dave Steffan, the principal of Voorhees High School, couldn't reveal whether the teen charged attends his school, but he did tell Eyewitness News this kind of harassment happens almost daily.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy. But as the access to the internet grows, the problem gets bigger" said Steffan.

"I call it Facebook muscles or text muscles," said Ron Peterson, assistant principal.

Across town at North Hunterdon High School, one student says the relatively new social network, Formspring, is the easiest way to cyber-bully because it's more anonymous than Facebook or Myspace.

"Another person will write 'you're a slut or a whore' and then they will talk about how they are ugly and just looking for attention," said Ben Stine, North Hunterdon High School Junior.

Their school resource officer Tom Hash is a detective at Clinton Township police. He tries his best to make kids realize there are serious consequences to their actions.

"If you wouldn't send it to your mom or dad, don't send it. Think before you do it," said Hash.

Hash's words seem like good advice, but in the world of adolescence, advice doesn't always matter.