Cyber-bullying is nothing new, but now the Omaha Police Department is reaching out to the community, to students and parents about what it can do.
Officer Joel Strominger doesn't sugarcoat his words as he discussed cyber-bullying Thursday morning to students at Brownell-Talbot High School. “The larger the audience the more likely you probably will want to take your own life because of the public humiliation."
He’s spent the last three weeks giving presentations around Omaha schools, bringing awareness on how to spot and prevent cyber-bullying. “I hear kids and parents alike all the time say they didn’t really didn't think about the consequences of the things that they say or the things that they post.”
Senior Ryan Segur says he's seen cyber-bullying on Facebook. “I’ve had a couple of LGBT friends that were targeted for a feminine profile picture and kids just say hateful things to them.”
Students also watched a sexting video that shows how easily what teens text or post online can spread, often times landing in the wrong hands.
Strominger says if you are being cyber-bullied or know someone who is, tell an adult. He also says don't respond to the bully and keep the messages for evidence.
He says parents must also play an active role in preventing cyber-bullying. In addition to monitoring your child's online use, Strominger recommends googling their name to see exactly what information pops up.
Segur says he now realizes there can be a fine line between joking and bullying. “I think I'm definitely going to think about what my jokes are and make sure they don't offend in any way.”
Officer Strominger will talk to Bownell-Talbot parents Thursday at 6:30 p.m.