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Local impact of social media

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social media

Wausau, Wis. (WAOW) -- Due to the buzz around the Facebook Whistleblower, social media and the impact it has on its users is drawing attention, especially when it comes to cyberbullying. 

Social media can be a great tool, if you're using it the right way. If used incorrectly. it can cause some serious harm.

"There are are many different ways that cyberbullying manifests online, definitely one of the most common examples are the rumor spreading, the gossip, the hurtful comments," said Justin Patchin, Co-Director of Cyberbullying Research Center. 

While it's been an issue for years, the Cyberbullying Research Center says it's gotten a lot worse since the COVID pandemic began. 

College students say there's simply no end.

"But now that social media is such a big thing it makes those bullies able to contact you so you can never get away from them," said Tony Frederick, student at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. 

The effects don't stop at cyberbullying. 

"It can badly influence people's mental health, especially with younger women," said Camille Kurth, student at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. 

But how do parents take action to protect their children?

"I think it's important for parents to have regular conversations with their kids and open up that dialogue to say look, if something happens please come to me, we'll work through it together," said Patchin.

Social media is a powerful tool, but with great power comes great responsibility.

If you or anyone you know is being cyberbullied, call the national hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Have story ideas? You can send them to slee@waow.com