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The New Age of Bullying: Part 1

Updated: Wednesday, July 16 2014, 02:41 PM CDT

It's a common occurrence for many children, teens and young adults. One that has many searching for a way to curb the sometimes fatal consequences.  Bullying. It takes center stage in tonight's report.  Sara Ganim shows us the struggles parents face and why some blame a new generation of apps for contributing to its spread and even teen suicide.

Tricia Norman thought she was being a conscientious mom; keeping tabs on her daughter's social media accounts.  But like many parents, she found monitoring on-line communications was getting harder with things constantly changing.

The recent trend, let's call them disappearing apps, when messages sent can easily disappear. These apps have raised alarm about being used to hide sexting or inappropriate posts and it's not just parents, they're a problem for law enforcement too.

Especially when something goes terribly wrong. She had just started 6th grade.

Rebecca Sedwick was just 12 years old. She was a good student, but school was a challenge. 

Her mother says she was bullied relentlessly.

Her mom closed her Facebook account, pulled her out of school -- but didn't know about her cell phone messaging apps.

The last time Tricia Norman saw her daughter -- Rebecca was on her cell phone.

Rebecca's mother Tricia Norman says that "To [her] she is still and always be part of this family so I try to include in everything."

Later that night Rebecca took her own life.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says "When you stand at the base of a cement silo and see a 12 yo child crumpled on the ground because she jumped to her death, it changes your life forever and when you find out bullying was behind it, that frustrates you."

Polk county Florida Sheriff Grady Judd found out disappearing apps may have contributed to Rebecca's anguish.

One of those apps is Ask.Fm was started in the tiny former Soviet Republic of Latvia.

Its website boasts more than 100 million users worldwide.

Some of them were Rebecca's bullies.

When news of her death went viral -- her mom says the company deleted Rebecca's page, making it impossible for law enforcement to see what was said the night she died.

"They deleted everything her whole entire page."

Sara Ganim: "To this day you don't know what was said to her?"

"I have no idea what was said to her."

RELATED ARTICLES The New Age of Bullying: Part 2

The New Age of Bullying: Part 1


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