Expert Says Social Media Has Taken Bullying To New Level

(CBS) — A 17-year-old girl from Burbank is recovering after being stabbed multiple times over what police say was a social media feud.

Some claim she was cyber-bullying the girl who stabbed her.

CBS 2’s Mai Martinez talked to an expert about how social media has taken bullying to a disturbing level.

Social media and bullying can be a volatile combination. Author and journalist Carrie Goldman has studied the issue for five years and wrote the book “Bullied.”

“Gossip, being unkind, jealousy, rumors, this happened you know, hundred years ago,” Goldman said. “What’s changed is the forum.”

That forum reaches a lot more people, a lot more quickly, and Goldman says online bullying differs from in-person bullying in a major way.

“There’s no one there to hit back, so you can hit again and again and again,” Goldman said.

Apps like Yik Yak and Burnbook allow people to post and attack anonymously.

“It gives them a forum to say just the most terrible things to each other and it escalates,” Goldman said.

Sometimes, to violence and even suicide.

“It feels to the kids as if their entire world is collapsing on them,” she said.

So what can parents do? Goldman says talk to their kids about the consequences of their online actions.

“Don’t click ‘like’ on the mean nasty thing. Don’t retweet it. Don’t switch from being a bystander into being a bully yourself,” she said.

Goldman says she has already talked with her 3, 4 and 5-year-olds.

And for those being bullied?

“Remind yourself you don’t deserve to be mistreated. You did nothing wrong,” she said.

Goldman also says any victim of bullying needs to tell someone they trust about it so that they can get help.

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