Bullies taunt victims with SMS

The poison pen gets hi-tech

Broken CD with wrench

SMS messaging has become another weapon in the bully's armoury, and has even been implicated in a teen suicide.

Gail Jones, a 15-year-old student, overdosed on tablets last May, after receiving up to 20 abusive message in half an hour.

According to Kidscape, an anti-bullying organisation, the amount of abuse being sent by phone is increasing and is sometimes sent to the phones of the victims' parents and siblings as well.

The audience at an anti-bullying conference organised by the NSPCC heard that the problem was bigger among girls. The reason for this, the spokeswoman for Kidscrape said, is that girls are often more articulate and manipulative than boys.

Professor Peter Smith, a government advisor on bullying, said that poisonous text messages were in some ways worse that verbal abuse. "Ignoring them is not the same as ignoring face-to-face insults," he said. ®

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More information for anyone have problems with bullying may find the Bullying Online site useful.

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