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Amanda Todd bullying suicide: "Nice it Forward" in her memory

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The Christian Science Monitor/Joanne Ciccarello

(Read caption) Amanda Todd's story brings fresh meaning to Haley Kilpatrick's organization Girl Talk, a mentoring program that pairs high school and middle school girls to help younger girls avoid teasing and cyberbullying. In the past nine years, more than 32,000 girls in 39 states have joined, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 6, 2010.

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The sad story of Canadian teenager Amanda Todd, who self-produced a video about being bullied and then killed herself weeks later, has prompted a new round of outrage about cyberbullying.

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Police, parents and school officials have cited Ms. Todd’s case in saying they need to increase efforts – and possibly laws – against this sort of harassment, in which perpetrators target victims through cell phone text messaging, on Facebook, or in other neighborhoods of the virtual world. Meanwhile, social networking sites have hosted tens of thousands of comments decrying what many see as this overwhelming, negative phenomenon in the lives of today’s teenagers; the nasty comments on memorial pages set up for Todd seem to only reinforce the sense that cyberbullies are omnipresent.

It’s hard not to join in with the anger; to feel like there’s just something terribly wrong with society, teens and the Internet today.

But even in the face of horrible stories like this one, it’s important to step back.

While many studies have shown that a large number of teens experience cyberbullying, which the Pew Internet & American Life Project describes as online harassment that is repeated over time and involves a power imbalance between a perpetrator and a victim, most do not.

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