Online Bullying on the Rise, Victims Getting Younger

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- "It's just scary for me to get bullied," confessed 13-year-old Bella Goria, of Greensboro.

"Whenever I went to school, I was always bullied and it makes me feel very scared to go to school now," she added.

Bella will be an 8th grader this fall at Northern Guilford Middle School. She was one of the several targets of a Twitter bully this week.

The anonymous account creator called out dozens of students. Some tweets picked on students' weight or their looks, while others accused students of inappropriate, sexual behavior.

Tara Goria couldn't believe what someone was saying about her daughter. "These are innocent kids. The sad thing is, it's another kid doing it who, in my opinion, is obviously looking for some sort of attention in hurting others."

Tara refused to put up with it. She called police. She called school officials.

She also sent tweets to the anonymous account, warning of legal consequences. "It's almost like it's a game to them. They feel like they have this power and that maybe this other individual isn't going to know," said Goria.

Experts say parents need to attack bullying from two sides. "Your job is to protect and you need to do that," said Psychotherapist Nannette Funderburk. "On the other side of it, bullies don't go away. Bullies grow up and they get jobs and we work with bullies so we want to teach that child, how do I deal with a bully?"

"They feel like they can mess with someone and they can do whatever and it won't hurt the person, but really, on the inside it hurts really bad to be bullied," said Bella.

This type of cyberbullying is illegal in North Carolina. WFMY News 2 reached out to Guilford County Schools to see if it's taking any action. No word back so far.

If someone is bullying your child, there are signs to look for like low self-esteem and getting bad grades. Click here for more information on how to prevent and report bullying.


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