Teen Violence Made Popular Online

When asked if the girls were just as nasty as the boys, Bartell said the girls were even meaner.

"Statistically, cyberbullying happens more among girls than it does among boys," she said.

'Mean Girls'

Exhibit A: This past September in Ohio, a 14-year-old girl brutally attacked a 13-year-old girl in the locker room of the Norwood Middle School, the punching and hair pulling all recorded on 13-year-old Jenny Huber's pink camera.

"There is a lot of fights on the Internet besides this one," Huber said. "There's a Web site just dedicated to fights called psfights.com."

After Huber's friend Amanda Clifford won the fight, Huber victoriously uploaded the video on YouTube. By the next day, the entire school was buzzing, but no one was surprised there had been a fight.

"Everybody thinks it's real amusing that guys fight. Why can't girls?" asked one student.

Katelind Lewis, the girl who was beaten up in the video, told us she felt humiliated and shaken up after the fight.

"They're just out to get everybody so they can be on top," she said. "They're 'mean girls' like that movie."

But Clifford and Huber deny they're mean girls.

"2020" asked Clifford what she did to Lewis. She explained that she hit Lewis in the face, which resulted in a bruise. It was the first time she'd ever hit anyone, Clifford said, and she insisted she'd been bullied into fighting.

"She gave me dirty looks and told me she was going to get me after school. She told people she was going to cut me up with Gatorade caps."

Their Day in Court

Clifford said she posted the fight video on the Web to scare other bullies away. Sure enough, no one has bullied Clifford since. But what she didn't know back then was that she and Huber were the ones who would get in trouble. Both were suspended from school. Clifford got five days and Huber was out for three days. Lewis received no punishment, much to the shock of Huber's mom, Kim Francis.

"Katelind said all she wants was an apology," Francis said. She asked her daughter and Clifford if they were sorry.

"Yes," the girls responded in sync.

But Lewis remains skeptical.

"I don't believe that they're sorry," she said. "They can say it over TV as much as they want, but they've never said it to me personally."

The girls were tried in court last week. Hamilton County Juvenile Court Magistrate Sara Schoettmer minced few words.

"This is a cruel thing that was done," she said. "There was no reason for it. How about we work on a reputation of serious students? OK? Kind people -- people who will smile at someone else instead of making a face, instead of challenging to a fight."

In the end, all three girls were blamed for the fight. Only Clifford was found guilty of disorderly conduct.

Huber, Clifford and their moms all worried about their names being Googled and people seeing the video, as the Internet is unforgiving and forever. Mean behavior, for the world to see, means a college admissions officer or potential employer can see it too.

Bartell's Advice for Parents

1. Be a role model for your kids. Point out mean behavior and act nice yourself. Chances are, your kids will act nicely too.

2. Put all home computers in a public space so you can see what your kids are up to online.

3. Google your kids' names regularly to find out what they're doing on the Web.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...