As the use of electronics increases, so does the amount of electronic bullying, a problem that school officials say can affect a child's future. WWAY spoke with a teenager who has felt the affects of electronic bullying first hand, and it is something they hope no one else has to experience. The New Hanover County student said, "It's been going on for about a year but I can deal with it, but it still hurts." She does not want to be identified for fear of retaliation. "It was to the point where I was like I don't want to go to school, I don't want to see this person and on top of that I had a threat too saying they were going to go to my school and they were going to find me," said the student. She is not bullied in the hallways, but through cell phone text messages and internet sites like MySpace and Facebook, where sometimes the bully is not even identified. School officials say this anonymity can add to the pain. Dr. Rick Holliday, assistant superintendent NHCS, said, "If I'm a bully and I'm trying to be anonymous I can do so, and if I am the bullied in that situation and have no idea it exponentially increases my fear because I don't know who's bullying me." "It certainly affects a child's ability to learn, the child's ability to socialize. It impacts every aspect of that child's life," said Holliday. To try and stop electronic bullying New Hanover County Schools started a program to educate parents, students, teachers and staff about what the electronic bullying is and ways to prevent it. The program recommends parents keep an open relationship with their kids, talk to them, find out what's going on at school, and keep an eye on what they're doing online. Students should tell a teacher or their parent if they are being bullied, and never add fuel to the fire. The student we spoke to said, "I don't confront them at all because I'm not in the mood to deal with it even more to create more drama." New Hanover County Schools have a process to investigate bullying complaints. If a student is a bully they could be suspended from school, and school officials say even if you just see someone being bullied you should tell a teacher or parent.
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