Gabrielle Molina, a 12-year-old girl living in Queens Village, New York, was found dead in her home May 22 after hanging herself from a ceiling fan. In her suicide note, Gabrielle apologized to her family and explained her actions, claiming that she had faced harsh cyberbullying from other students at Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School 109 in Queens Village. Both Gabrielle’s mother, Glenda Molina, and a classmate report that Gabrielle faced constant bullying (both at school and online) that left her depressed.
Unfortunately, Gabrielle’s death comes after a number of suicides related to cyber bullying incidents that reflect the pervasiveness of online harassment. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that one in six high school students reported being cyber bullied within the past year, with girls being twice as likely to report being cyber bullied than boys. Yet, this percentage is bound to increase as texting and social media become ubiquitous in the everyday life of teens. A Common Sense Media research study shows that two-thirds of teens text every day and half of teens visit social media sites daily. And as they spend more time plugged in, the risk of cyber bullying increases.