Placeholder Image photo credit: Marc Albert/KRCB
Dr.Anish Shah (standing) Siya Shah, seated right


It was supposed to usher in a new age of understanding, fueled by the free flow of information. While the internet may still build bonds across the globe, it's increasingly used for insult and torment. A few locals were on hand this weekend, trying to blunt the harm of cyberbullying.

According to Siya Shah, a student at Santa Rosa's Maria Carillo High School, staffing a booth at the Santa Rosa Marathon....cyberbullying is prevalent.

"It's something that affects around 20 percent of teenagers, and it's a big deal because it can lead to anxiety, depression, and people aren't exactly aware of it, but we've had people come up to us today and talk about how they know someone who's a victim of suicide as a result of cyberbullying."

Shah said it's not foreign to her peers.

"I know people who have been called rude names online, and it kind of starts there, I know girls have received pictures, like, unwanted pictures and they click on links that they shouldn't."

Her father, Dr. Anish Shah, a psychologist, said parent awareness and involvement is important.

"The way we can support our children first, is to lend them a listening ear. To hear what they are experiences have been, what's really happening, try to identify ways of helping them solve those problems. Perhaps restricting internet times, maybe giving them tools like blocking. In certain situations where kids have had a mental health issue, to provide them support and resources, to do psychotherapy or other forms of treatment."

While the best defense may be a strong offence in football, the younger Shah says robbing bullies of engagement is the best play.

"Don't provoke them, don't respond at all, like that's the number one thing, and I know it's very hard, teenagers, they want to respond and say something back," Siya Shah said.

Beyond that, she said, it's best to turn to your local police department.

"They can get involved and stop the issue," she added.

  • SoCo Calendar
  • Right Now
  • Weather
  • Earthquakes
  • First News
thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Read More

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.