CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Education revealed that 70 percent of students report seeing frequent bullying online. Another study from the University of Phoenix at the same time found that 79 percent of parents said that their children had never been a victim of cyberbullying.
"I'm thinking that possibly things are happening with our own children that we are not acknowledging or that we are aware of, and you know, cyberbullying is defined really as any unwanted communication that your child is receiving," said Pam Roggeman, an Academic Dean at the University of Phoenix. "So, I guarantee that more students out there are receiving unwanted kinds of interaction, communication than they are taking about."
Roggeman said parents need to monitor their child's interactions on their phones and on social media, and document anything that could be considered cyberbullying.
"When any child receives any kind of unwanted interaction or communication, what they need to do is screen shot it," she said.
Lina Zindroski and Alex Hale, both from Northeast Ohio, say that they are victims of cyberbullying. Both were pushed to the point of being suicidal.
"I got phone calls, voice mails - how did you get out of the hippo exhibit? They miss you at the zoo. I got text messages -- everyone's life would be so much easier if you weren't around," described Zindroski.
Hale said he's been bullied for a good part of his life.
He was diagnosed with autism at the age of 6.
"Inside the school -- at my locker I was beat up. I told my mother I didn't want to go to school because I knew what would happen," he said.
Zindroski said she was in denial, at one point, about what was happening and didn't want to talk about it, but both she and Alex said if you are being bullied, you have to tell someone -- hopefully your parents.
"You are not the problem. It's them. When they are picking on you it is coming from somewhere deep within them where they have an issue," Zindroski said. "They are picking on you because you have something that they don't."
Alex now has his own radio show on New Cleveland Radio on TuneIn and is beginning a new career in film too.
Lina is excited about starting a career as an advanced cosmetologist.
Both are hoping that their story of surviving bullying and rising above it, will help someone else.
"It does get better. It really does," Alex said.