In a follow-up on Rebecca Sedwick, the Florida 12-year-old who killed herself after being berated in social media, the Orlando Sentinel says that 20 percent of young people have been the victim of cyberbullying, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, a clearinghouse of information co-founded by college professors. About 15 percent of teens have admitted they have bullied or ridiculed others on social media, photo-sharing and other websites. “It’s now 24-7. It’s not just something you can escape after the school day,” said Sameer Hinduja, center co-director.
Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said it didn’t appear as though Rebecca fought back when she was relentlessly bullied. “She appeared to be beat down,” Judd said. “She appeared to have a defeatist attitude.” Detectives are questioning several youth who had been in contact with Rebecca and have seized cell phones and laptops. It’s unclear what criminal charge they may face, if any. In Florida, cyberbullying is not considered a criminal offense. However, cyberstalking is. It is unclear how many young people have been charged with cyberstalking, a statute that would also cover adults who make online threats against each other.