12-year-old Rio Rico boy is latest victim of a cyberbullying attack on Facebook
His mother promises to find out who is behind the fake Facebook page.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Just weeks into the new school year and another reported cyberbullying attack. This time in Rio Rico. The victim: a 12 year old boy.
His mother is speaking out, because she wants to make sure it doesn't happen to any other child.
KGUN9 is not identifying her in order to protect her son's identity.
Tears began to well up in the mother's eyes as she described what happened to her son. She told KGUN9 that she found out about the cyberattack on a weekend night after her son called her over to his computer. "He said mommy come look at this and I did," she said.
On the computer screen was a shocking image of a phony Facebook page that smeared her son's name by using a sexual euphemism. "And it said he was a homosexual and I said who did this and he said I don't know."
Making matters worse, the unknown creator pulled personal photos from the mother's Facebook page. After seeing those images, her 12-year-old son was devastated. "He was crying. He was embarrassed. He was hurt. The whole my life is over. I don't want to go to school now," she said. "We just held him and said it would be okay and we'd get to the bottom of this. We'll take action."
She reported it to Facebook. She received an email saying the phony page did not violate their policies, however, a few days later the page was shut down.
She also called the newspaper, Nogales International, and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department. "It's important that parents take that position (to report cyberbullying)," said Sheriff Tony Estrada. He said this is the first cyberbulling case in Santa Cruz County and there is no precedent on how to handle this type of investigation.
"They kind of forced us into that arena of finding out what people can do with technology. How they can abuse it. How they can circumvent the process and the law," he said.
But Estrada said he's confident he'll figure out who is behind the phony Facebook page. "They're good at covering their tracks. They're really, really good. But like everything else, when there's somebody that's good, there's somebody better," said Estrada.
The mother of the 12-year-old victim is counting on that.
Cavazos: 'You don't want to give up on this? You want to find out who did this?"
Mother: "Right. I'm not going to give up. I thought we were a small community in Rio Rico. That stuff doesn't happen here."
Cavazos: "It could happen anywhere. It's cyberbullying."
Mother: "Yes, it is. It's illegal. It's wrong, It's hurtful and I'm not going to take it."
The mother has since added more security measures to the family's online accounts. She also pulled all the pictures of her two children from her Facebook page and hopes other parents take similar action.
School districts across the state are now required to teach cyberbullying awareness and monitor social media in schools. The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District says it's changed the policies to include cyberbullying, but still needs time to work it all out.