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PNS Daily Newscast - November 16, 2018 


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Monica Lewinsky and the Scourge of Adult Cyberbullying

PHOTO: Experts recommend using caution when it comes to what information you share online in an effort to avoid cyberbullies. Photo credit: Francis MacDonald/Morguefile.
PHOTO: Experts recommend using caution when it comes to what information you share online in an effort to avoid cyberbullies. Photo credit: Francis MacDonald/Morguefile.
March 24, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. - A growing awareness of adult cyberbullying was underscored last Friday when Monica Lewinsky addressed the matter in a TED Talk.

Cyberbullying can happen to people of any age, according to author Blair London, who heard some of her adult friends share stories of their experiences on social media. After researching, she realized they were not alone. She says the "distance" provided by online communication can sometimes make people more cruel than in "real life."

"You get the friend of a friend of a friend who doesn't really care who this original person is," says London. "So they don't care if any harm comes to them."

London recently published a novel titled "Lure to Death," which centers on the issue of adult cyberbullying.

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky spoke publicly at a TED Talk in Vancouver on her experience with bullies who sent cruel messages to her via social media. According to NoBullying.com, cyberbullying or "trolling" can play out with harassment, impersonation, or sharing someone's secrets online.

In her speech, Lewinsky offered others encouragement as they struggle with cruelty online.

"Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing," she says. "You can survive it. I know it's hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy, but you can insist on a different ending to your story."

London says while adult cyberbullying may be a growing problem, online cruelty between young people is nothing new. She says it often starts as "tweens" "friend" people for the sake of quantity and not quality.

"Young people, I think they collect friends," says London. "They go on the Internet at that young of an age and put things out there and they think nothing of it. They think they've got a friend out there."

North Carolina law prohibits anyone from using a computer or computer network to intimidate or torment a minor. The state also makes it a crime to "intimidate or torment" teachers online.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC