Rebecca Sedwick, 12, of Miami, last week became one of the youngest members of a growing list of children and teens driven to suicide after being maligned, threatened and taunted online through a new collection of texting and photo-sharing cellphone applications, reports the New York Times. Her suicide raises new questions about the proliferation and popularity of these applications and Web sites among children and the ability of parents to keep up with them.
The Polk County sheriff is investigating the role of cyberbullying in the suicide and considering charges against the middle-school students who apparently barraged Rebecca with hostile text messages. A new Florida law makes it easier to bring felony charges in online bullying cases. Rebecca was “absolutely terrorized on social media,” Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said. Rebecca's mother, Tricia Norman, faces the frustration of wondering what else she could have done. She complained to school officials for months about the bullying, and when little changed, she pulled Rebecca out of school.