Breaking News Bar
updated: 3/29/2014 6:02 PM

Kirk vows to help end cyber bullying

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Sen. Mark Kirk, right, meets Saturday with Colleen Keefe of Mount Prospect and Wheeling High School, and Ryan Goldsher of Northbrook and Glenbard West High School, to discuss issues facing teens at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

       Sen. Mark Kirk, right, meets Saturday with Colleen Keefe of Mount Prospect and Wheeling High School, and Ryan Goldsher of Northbrook and Glenbard West High School, to discuss issues facing teens at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.
    ANNA MARIE KUKEC | Staff Photographer

  • Sen. Mark Kirk, center, on Saturday listens to 20 junior class presidents from suburban high schools at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library as they talk about major issues facing teens.

       Sen. Mark Kirk, center, on Saturday listens to 20 junior class presidents from suburban high schools at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library as they talk about major issues facing teens.
    ANNA MARIE KUKEC | Staff Photographer

  • Sen. Mark Kirk, center, on Saturday poses with junior class presidents from suburban high schools for a photo after they talk about major issues facing teens.

       Sen. Mark Kirk, center, on Saturday poses with junior class presidents from suburban high schools for a photo after they talk about major issues facing teens.
    ANNA MARIE KUKEC | Staff Photographer

  • Sen. Mark Kirk stands ready to pose with about 20 students after meeting with them Saturday at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library to discuss major issues facing teens today.

       Sen. Mark Kirk stands ready to pose with about 20 students after meeting with them Saturday at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library to discuss major issues facing teens today.
    ANNA MARIE KUKEC | Staff Photographer

 
 

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said Saturday he will launch a public service video and use other educational methods to fight the dangers of cyberbullying after about 20 students advised him of how those dangers are increasing at their suburban high schools.

The students, all junior class presidents on Kirk's Student Leadership Advisory Board, talked with him about substance abuse, academic pressures, and other issues but voted overwhelmingly to have Kirk target cyberbullying on social media websites. The students said the controversial apps Yik Yak and Snap Chat are among those used during such cyber attacks.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"My colleagues, who are 50 plus, have no idea what Yik Yak or Snap Chat are, and we have to make them aware of their dangers," said Kirk, who is 54.

The meeting was held at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. The advisory board has been in place for about five years and the students said the trends are pointing toward a dangerous increase in cyberbullying, the Illinois Republican said.

Students said they knew students, or of students, who were bullied and it led to public ridicule, or worse, their suicides.

They shared a survey from the Illinois attorney general's office and iSafe.org that said 58 percent of kids in Illinois have been bullied online and 53 percent of kids in Illinois have been a bully online. The office defined bullying as "posting something mean or hurtful online," the survey said.

Kirk, who suffered an ischemic stroke in January 2012 and required two surgeries and intensive rehabilitation in order to return to the Senate, said he will fight for teens who are encountering cyberbullies.

Kirk, who still had some trembling in his right hand and leg, sat in a wheelchair as students talked and later stood with a cane as he posed for photos with them.

"It's important that people in high school talk to people in high school, and not some old guy in an office with no credibility with them," Kirk said. "That's why we're hoping to put post a video on YouTube and Comcast, where all the kids come together."

Besides creating the video, Kirk plans to issue a Top 10 list of the most dangerous apps that young people use during these cyberbullying attacks. Kirk and his aides could not provide an immediate release date for the video or the app list.

The students said that some of their schools now block their efforts to post on social media sites during school days, in an effort to stop instant posts to bully other students.

"I think they should make a dead zone at the schools, so you can't send messages during the day while you're at school," said Patrick Sachaj, a junior at Notre Dame College Prep.

Ryan Goldsher of Northbrook, a junior at Glenbrook West High School and president of Kirk's board, said students need to be on the front lines to help stop cyberbullying.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.