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Stopping Bullying in Battle Creek


Battle Creek Police officer Zack Burgess says one of the worst things about online bullying is that it’s hard to escape.

"It used to be where, you know you go to school, you stick it out for six hours and you get bullied at school, you go home and you’re done. You don’t have to worry – it’s your safe zone," he says.

"Now you come home, you don’t have a safe zone because it’s constantly there."

Online bullies’ tools range from sharing unflattering or private photos to leaving cruel comments on a victim’s Facebook page. Officer Cody Longon says rumor is a favorite device among children.

"They’ll take a topic and put it on Facebook, completely make something up, and kids will comment on it, say something about it," he says.

Longon and Burgess say that to stop virtual bullying, it’s important for parents to watch what their kids do online. Longon acknowledges that children who want to avoid supervision can find some ways to do so. But he says effective watching is still possible.

"There’s all kinds of apps out there for parents to monitor and get emails sent to their phone every time they mess with Facebook, get an email, open up the Internet even," he says.

Burgess and Longon say parents also need to talk directly with children about what’s up in their online social lives.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.