Anti-bullying expert: smart phones as dangerous as guns - WFLA News Channel 8

Anti-bullying expert: smart phones as dangerous as guns

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You've probably heard the saying, guns don't kill people, people kill people. Gabriella van Rij says smart phones fall into that same category. She is a nationally known anti-bullying expert and author. She is making her rounds in Florida because October is the official anti-bullying month.

Related story: Anti-bullying expert speaks on Sedwick case

Gabriella van Rij says the recent death of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick proves her case. The Polk County girl took her own life last month after enduring relentless cyber-bullying. Many of the messages she received were on her smart phone. 

Related: more about Rebecca Sedwick.

"It is a weapon," said van Rij about a smart phone. "And I really mean that in all the sense of the word. A weapon. You give the children something in their hands that they think is fun. And, like a toy. But they use it to hurt other children. "

Gabriella van Rij says some parents give their children these phones without giving it much thought. 

Related: sources on bullying at schools.

"What parents forget is that the smart phone is not just a phone, it has Facebook, it has data, which means they are on the internet, they can look up anything on google, they have twitter, they have everything at their fingertips. "

Gabriella van Rij says her advice to parents is to know what your children are doing on their smart phones, and keep an open dialogue.

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