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      The internet playground: cyber bullying

      A change in cell phone policy is coming to Marquette Senior High School. Starting March 1, students will now be able to use their phones during lunch hour.

      Currently, they aren't allowed to use their phones at all during school hours. Before the change is made, the school is educating their students about issues with phones and social media. Upper Michiganâ??s Source is also taking a closer look in a three-part series, "Social Media, Friend or Foe?"

      The first issue being addressed at MSHS is the violence of cyber bullying. According to the i-SAFE Foundation, over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.

      â??Itâ??s usually joking around through texts and stuff, but it can get serious,â?? explained freshman Collin Cavin.

      â??Usually over Facebook or Twitter or something,â?? added freshman Scott Tripp.

      â??They can trash talk each other over texts or Facebook and go behind their back and say stuff, or they can actually come up to them and say it to them,â?? said freshman Preston Marchant.

      Tripp said a lot of what is said online is often misinterpreted.

      â??Just like make fun of each other and threaten each other,â?? he said.

      Whatever the intention, about half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying on a phone or computer, according to the Cyber Bullying Research Center. Ten to 20 percent experience it regularly. Teachers at MSHS are educating students about the potential affects of cyber bullying.

      â??If it's bad enough, it can lead to anger and depression and even suicide,â?? Cavin said.

      As the school gets ready to expand cell phone use, Cavin doesn't think cyber bullying will happen more.

      â??I don't think it really happens in school. I think it mostly happens out of school, and there's not really much time to do it through school,â?? he said.

      Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly. Because of the quick technology, cyber bullying spreads quickly, but often, nothing is done. According to the Harford County Examiner, only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim, and fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement.

      â??If you're a bystander, you probably won't speak up about it because then they'll turn on you and you might get picked on then,â?? Marchant said.

      Part of the teaching includes telling students where to turn.

      â??Not just to watch it happen and laugh about it, but actually tell people around and make it known so teachers and adults can stop it,â?? Marchant said.

      The threat of cyber bullying is changing how teens use the internet, knowing their words can have a permanent effect.

      â??Iâ??m a lot more cautious,â?? Tripp said. â??Like when you post, don't post any dirty things because colleges look at that, and if it's offensive to other people, they won't look at you."

      â??Just be nice and don't be a bully,â?? Marchant added.