PORTLAND -- Cyberbullying is a growing problem facing kids hooked on social network sites like Facebook, but parents and school officials can help.

Rebecca Hillhouse, 13, of Kelso, Washington, had been using social network sites since she was 10. It started with MySpace, then she moved on to Facebook.

I talk to people on Facebook that I don't normally talk to in person, Rebecca said.

But what had been fun and innocent changed one morning, about two months ago.

I had one message. So I checked the message and the subject was just, 'Hey,' so I read it, she recalled.

The message was from a schoolmate, who had been an old friend, but the greeting was anything but friendly.

She called me the 'B-word' and was all flipping out because I was dating this one guy, Rebecca said.

The online attacker claimed Rebecca had stolen her boyfriend. At first, Rebecca tried to calm matters by asking the girl to leave her alone. But over the next two months the bullying escalated.

She started sending me emails and instant messages threatening me, said Rebecca.

According to Rebecca's mother, Lorelei Warren, the classmate even threatened Rebecca physically.

She told her several different times she was going to kick her butt and I was worried, Warren said. I was so scared for Becca.

She just wouldn't stop, said Rebecca.

The constant bullying started affecting Rebecca's school work. Her grades slipped as the teen slipped into depression.

The last thing to take it away, Rebecca confessed, basically I wanted to kill myself just to make it stop. Because she wouldn't stop.

I knew she was different, Warren said about her daughter. I knew something was going on and I told the counselor I was really afraid she was going to kill herself.

The threats did not stop until Warren told the online attacker she was going to the police.

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Ken Ensroth said while incidents of face-to-face bullying are going down, those involving the Internet are on the rise.

All kinds of nasty stuff can get said--and does get said--on the Internet that would not probably be said in person, because it s sort of like it s anonymous, said Dr. Ensroth.

Ensroth said it's crucial parents be in on their children's online conversations, including those on Facebook.

He also said if parents notice any change in a child's behavior they should start asking questions. And parents should ensure children know they need to tell somebody what's going on.

One of the most important messages is that kids should tell parents, adults, and teachers they re getting bullied whenever it s happening, Ensroth said. They should not think they just have to handle it.

Dr. Ensroth said youngsters who are being cyberbullied should tell not only their parents, but also their school officials.

Rebecca said she told her counselor at Huntington Middle School, but was told--because the bullying was happening off school grounds--the faculty could not take any action.

Warren made all the right moves to help her daughter cope with a relentless cyberbully, which in the end made Rebecca only stronger.

I m happy going back to school, Rebecca said. I don't want to hurt myself anymore and it s just The pressure is gone.

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