There is hope
While this all sounds scary, and it is, Belsey said there are real signs that things are changing.
He sees students taking charge and realizing the damage that can be done. The social justice committees at the junior and senior high schools in Queens County are a good example of people that are saying no to cyberbullying.
The criminal code is also catching up to the online realm as well. People that post malicious comments can be charged with variety of crimes from harassment to uttering threats. There can be real consequences to sending explicit photos by phone as well, if the sender is underage. They can be charged with creating and disseminating child pornography, which often lands them on the sex offender registry.
There are things everyone can do too, to make the online experience safer, he said. Some are simple, such as not sharing passwords and making them secure.
Others take effort, such as really thinking before you click the send button or post online.
However Belsey is optimistic students are getting the message.
“I think most young people are pretty great, most of the time,” he said. “There are so many wonderful things you can do with technology. Who wants to waste time hurting someone with some petty comment online?”