CDC study shows teens struggling post pandemic, parents call for cyberbullying law

Kemberly Richardson Image
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Parents call for law concerning cyberbullying
Kemberly Richardson has more on what parents want lawmakers to do about cyberbullying.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Grieving families were on Capitol Hill Tuesday for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about social media safety for children.

They are there to discuss the consequences of cyberbullying.

This comes as a new CDC survey shows teens face record-level highs of violence, sadness, and suicide risk since the pandemic.

Experts are sounding the alarm when it comes to teenagers and their mental health.

One expert said high school should be a time for trailblazing, not trauma.

Tuesday, Kristin Bride and others headed to Washington.

They hope to urge lawmakers to pass a new law that would require school districts to notify parents or guardians of incidents of cyberbullying.

Bride's 16-year-old son Carson died by suicide in 2020 after being harassed on social media.

"I woke up to the horror that he had hung himself in our garage while we slept," she said. "And there are no words to describe the tragedy of that morning and every day afterwards."

The CDC is taking a close look at data collected from teens in the fall of 2021, critical given the fact that the responses offer the first look at trends since the start of the pandemic.

The agency found nearly three in five girls felt persistently sad, 41% say their mental health was poor in the last 30 days, and more than 50% of LGBTQ+ teens report high levels of violence.

"Almost a third of LGBTQ+ students were bullied online. Almost a quarter were bullied at school, and more than one in 10 did not go to school because of safety," said Kathleen Ethier, Director, Adolenscent and School Health, CDC.

Dr. Jen Ashton discusses mental health in teens:

ABC's Chief Medical Correspondent Doctor Jen Ashton discusses mental health in teens and how parents can start a dialog with their children about bullying and other triggers.

Experts says this new data indicates that teen boys are also struggling, but find girls are more engulfed in what they call a growing wave of violence.

That is the case in Bayville, New Jersey where a school superintendent has resigned and four high school students are facing charges in a vicious attack.

Fourteen-year-old Adriana Kuch took her own life after a video of the beating was posted on social media.

RELATED | Father demands justice for daughter who took her life after video of school bullying surfaced

Michael Kuch is demanding accountability from a school in Ocean County, New Jersey after his 14-year-old daughter took her. He told reporter Michelle Charlesworth that his daughter was tormented by bullying.

"It's scary for parents and they don't want to hear it, but ignorance is not bliss when you have a teen," said Ericka Souter, a parenting expert.

Experts urge parents to pay attention to any small changes in their kid's behavior like losing interest in a usual hobby, a different sleep pattern, or lack of appetite. Those shifts could be red flags that your child is suffering.

If you are experiencing suicidal, substance use or other mental health crises please call or text the new three-digit code at 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also go to


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