Cyber bullying affects adults, too

Cyber bullying affects adults, too »Play Video
This frame grab provided by WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wis., shows television anchorwoman Jennifer Livingston Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012

EUGENE, Ore. - When most people think of bullying, they think of kids and teens in school.

But it's also very real in the adult workplace thanks to the Internet and social media.

A video of an anchor in La Crosse, Wisc., responding to a nasty e-mail has gone viral. It's sparked a new debate about cyber bullying.

KVAL News decided to look at our own newsroom. You may be surprised to hear that journalists at KVAL often receive hateful and mean-spirited messages.

"I have seen people get a lot more mean-spirited, very open with their comments and criticism, and I think since all of that has come in to play, it's changed the whole dynamic," said KVAL Anchor David Walker.

The evolution of e-mail, Facebook and Twitter has brought bullying to a new level.

"People feel much more free to add and say pretty negative things to people because they can't see them face to face. There is more of a disconnect there," says local psychologist Ryan Scott, PhD.

We as journalists have chosen to be in the public eye, but that doesn't make the words hurt any less.

KVAL News journalists deal with nasty e-mails every day.

"I remember I opened it up and remember reading it. It said Kristina Nelson needs to be taken off the air. She's as big as a Goodyear blimp, she's as tall as a giraffe, and she sounds like a monkey. She needs to be taken off immediately. How dare you put her on air," said KVAL Reporter Kristina Nelson.

"I just wish that when people get that urge to write that nasty email, think about your daughter, your sister, your mother - and would you want them to get that type of email?" said KVAL Morning Anchor Katie Delaune.

"You know words hurt and whether you think you're being hurtful or not, it leaves a lasting impression," Nelson said.

"It can cause depression, anxiety and can lead to suicidal thoughts and even suicidal actions,"  Scott said.

We used our own KVAL staff to show that bullying happens everywhere. It's not meant for our viewers and readers to feel sorry for us but rather to understand the issue affects real people in our community.