'I hate cyber bullies'

'I hate cyber bullies' »Play Video
BOISE, Idaho - An estimated one in three young people are victims of cyber bullying, and it's having deadly consequences across the nation. The torment is also impacting students in the Treasure Valley.

"I used to be kinda heavy and everybody wasn't my friend for being me," said Tim Roberts, a Boise teenager who has been a victim of cyber bullying.

Roberts knows too well the impact of being bullied. He turned to drugs, and dropped out of school.

"After it kept going on and on I started thinking it was more true, and it started to hurt," Roberts said. "For a while I started having suicidal thoughts. I didn't feel like I was worth anyone's time, and I gave up on everything, really."

The statistics are startling. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. Half of them are related to bullying.

"There's just that one spot in your gut that always feels empty when people are making fun of you," Roberts said.

"It's vicious and can be very nasty and hurtful," said Amy Rust Bennett, a school social worker in Boise.

Bennett helps students combat cyber bullying. She says the Internet has kicked bullying into high gear.

"It gets bigger, more people get involved, and everyone can read it," Bennett said. "I also think they can say meaner things and it's more damaging."

She holds a supportive girls group, and a colleague of hers holds a boys group once a week at Victory Academy. Roberts takes part.

"Once everything's bottled up you feel like you're going to explode," Roberts said. "It always helps just to talk about it."

If more attention is needed Bennett counsels, and mediates between the bully and the bullied. Parents are also contacted so they're aware of what's going on. If the problem continues law enforcement gets involved.

It took Roberts about five years to get past his bullying, and has this advice for those going through it now in hopes they don't turn to self-destruction like he did.

"Whenever someone else thinks they're better than you or have something up on you and you don't feel it's good just count your blessings and think about what you have in your life," Roberts said.

Bennett can't stress enough to parents to talk to your kids. She says make sure their Internet use and cell phones are restricted at night as well, because that's when the majority of the bullying happens.