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Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

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Cyber-Bullying a Growing Epidemic for PA Kids

December 14, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - E-mail, texting, Facebook: cell phones, instant messages, and online social networking sites have transformed the way we communicate, making it easier for all of us to stay connected, but also creating a whole new set of problems for kids in Pennsylvania. It's called cyber-bullying. Bullying is no longer limited to the playground and the school hallways, according to Maxine Mosley, a middle-school counselor who leads regional educational workshops on cyber-bullying.

Mosley says children receive threatening e-mails and text messages on their cell phones and computers - day and night.

"Creating a site of 'Who do you hate the most?' People taking pictures of people and Photoshopping them. Somebody's texting somebody in another class threatening them. And it is, at this point, probably a national epidemic."

Mosley says that, while some school districts are creating stricter rules for students in terms of cell phone and computer use, parents and communities need to come together to address the issue of cyber-bullying.

She says bullied children can sometimes become withdrawn, angry, or seem depressed, and they are often reluctant to admit to adults that they are being bullied for fear of losing their phone or computer privileges. She says it's important for adults to monitor children's online activity and cell-phone habits.

"Most parents don't realize they can go into the history of a phone or the history on the computer and check and see what their child is doing."

She points to a recommended resource for both adults and children at www.pacer.org

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA