Parents and young people heard tips on preventing or stopping cyber-bullying at a Minneapolis forum Thursday.
Natalie Noe, now a college student, told the group how she and other New York City schoolmates harassed a classmate. Noe said she and her 12-year-old friends remained anonymous on a social networking site to direct hurtful comments.
"Anonymity made it really easy to go about doing this and we felt, like, she couldn't put a face to a name so what we were doing wasn't really wrong," Noe said. "But essentially it was terrible."
Nicky Jackson-Colaco, a spokeswoman for Facebook, the world's largest social media company, declined to reveal the amount of cyber-bullying the company detects among its half a billion users.
However Jackson-Colaco said one of Facebook's most effective techniques for stopping cyber-bullying is to alert offending users.
"Threatening them with disabling their Facebook account is one of the most impactful things that you can do," she said. After a threat is made, "the behavior stops," she said.
The most effective cyber-bullying prevention is parents talking with their children about proper use of social media including using real names and avoiding groups that post anonymously, she said.
Jackson-Colaco advised people to use the Facebook report button available on every page if they want to alert the company to cyberbullying. She said that's where Facebook gets most of its leads on the problem.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar organized the forum at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.