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Cyberbullying: A Mother's Story, Part II

November 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

restraining orderAfter the frightening night-time incident (see Cyberbullying - A Mother's Story, Part 1,) Bud became understandably paranoid. He would no longer leave the house unless we drove him to his destination, even if it was just around the corner. He and his friends used to walk all over town and now he was getting so little sunshine that he was eventually diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency.

During the week that followed, one of Bud's friends texted him and told him to check out G's Facebook wall. G had a public and completely open Facebook page--anyone could see it whether or not they were his friend. Bud called me over to see what G had posted. Right there on G's wall was an invitation - " bud morris, come over to my house... I have a bottle of bud and a freshly dug grave in my backyard for you..." "I want to grow my hair long so I can strangle bud with it."

My husband, Art, and I immediatley told Bud he needed to get a restraining order against G. We went to the courthouse and got the paperwork, but Bud was terrified there would be retribution from G's brother and friends if he followed through. So we put it on hold. Then, on July 1st, Bud saw this message on G's Facebook wall, "anyone down to get torches and pitch forks and begin an angry mob and go over to bud's house and drag him outside by the throat and beat him til he's dead in the street?" Bud went to his room and refused to come out. When I tried to talk to him he was actually shaking, he was so angry and scared.

I called a friend of ours who I knew Bud would listen to because he works closely with the police department. C told Bud the only way he would get through this was if he trusted us as his parents to protect him and the only way we could do that was by filing another police report and getting a restraining order. Bud finally agreed. We printed all the pages from G's Facebook wall from the past week and called the police.

This time, partially due to the printed evidence and partly because G was a known troublemaker in the neighborhood, Bud was taken seriously. The police went to his house that night and arrested him for felony stalking as well as multiple counts of theft from other people which he had also confessed to on his Facebook wall. He spent a month in juvenile hall and received a year probation with a no-contact order on Bud. We also received a 3 year civil restraining order against G. It has been over a year since the arrest, and Bud has found peace. He looked over his shoulder for a long time afterwards and still wanted to be driven everywhere. For awhile G's brother and his friends would drive by our house and yell curses and insults at us. But I think Bud finally sees that they took him seriously and understand that retribution would just land them in the same trouble as G. At least I hope that's what they're thinking. 

-Article Contributed by Teressa Morris. Visit her blog at Window on the World.

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Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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