Teen Suicide Linked to Cyberbullying

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From here:

The image was blurred and the voice distorted, but the words spoken by a young Ohio woman are haunting. She had sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent them to other high school girls. The girls were harassing her, calling her a slut and a whore. She was miserable and depressed, afraid even to go to school.

And now Jesse Logan was going on a Cincinnati television station to tell her story. Her purpose was simple:”I just want to make sure no one else will have to go through this again.”

The interview was in May 2008. Two months later, Jesse Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.

An “internet security expert” is quoted in the linked article for the proposition that: “Forty-four percent of the boys say that they’ve seen sexual images of girls in their school, and about 15 percent of them are disseminating those images when they break up with the girls.” As far as I can tell from little bit of research, a few of the kids who disseminate nude photos of underage peers, or in some cases themselves, are punished harshly, while most are not sanctioned at all. This article reports:

After his former girlfriend taunted him, Phillip Alpert remembered the nude photos she e-mailed to him while they were dating.

He took revenge with an electronic blast : e-mailing the photos of the 16-year-old girl to more than 70 people, including her parents, grandparents and teachers.

Three days later, Alpert, then 18, was charged with transmitting child pornography. Today Alpert is serving five years of probation for the crime, and he is registered as a sex offender : a label he must carry at least until he is 43.

“I didn’t know how bad of a decision it was,” Alpert, now 19, said recently at his MetroWest apartment. “I don’t think it’s fair.”

And:

Just last month, a 15-year-old Pennsylvania girl was charged with creating child pornography for sending images of herself via MySpace to a 27-year-old man.

Also last month, a Brevard County teen was jailed after forwarding a cell-phone picture of his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend’s naked breasts to another teen. The girlfriend allowed the photo to be taken while the two were dating, police said.

Bryce Dixon, 18, told investigators he sent the photo because he thought the girl had cheated on him with his best friend. He said he knew that sending the photo would make her mad.

A judge set Dixon’s bail at $140,000 for charges he faced, including transmission of child pornography.

But the teens who circulated the pictures of Jesse Logan and bullied her literally to death have apparently not been punished by their school, or by anyone else.

–Ann Bartow

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