More Victims of Online Abuse Reach Out to Parents

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More Victims of Online Abuse Reach Out to Parents

Sarah Ball was a 15-year-old high school sophomore at Hernando High School in Brooksville, Fla., when a friend posted on Facebook: "I hate Sarah Ball, and I don't care who knows.''

Then there was the Facebook group "Hernando Haters'' asking to rate her attractiveness, plus an anonymous email calling her a "waste of space.'' And this text arrived on her 16th birthday: "Wow, you're still alive? Impressive. Well happy birthday anyway.''

It wasn't until Sarah's mom, who had access to her daughter's online passwords, saw the messages that the girl told her everything.

More young people are reaching out to family members after being harassed or taunted online, and it's helping. A poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found incidents of "digital abuse'' are still prevalent but declining somewhat. It found a growing awareness among teenagers and young adults about harm from online meanness and cyberbullying, as well as a slight increase among those willing to tell a parent or sibling.

"It was actually quite embarrassing, to be honest,'' remembers Ball, now an 18-year-old college freshman. But "really, truly, if it wasn't for my parents, I don't think I'd be where I'm at today.''

The survey's findings come a week after two Florida girls, ages 12 and 14, were arrested on felony charges for allegedly bullying online a 12-year-old girl who later killed herself by jumping off a tower at an abandoned concrete plant.

The AP-NORC/MTV poll found that some 49 percent of young people ages 14 through 24 in the U.S. said they have had at least one brush with some kind of electronic harassment, down from about 56 percent in 2011. Of those who have encountered an incident, 34 percent went to a parent, compared with 27 percent just two years ago. And 18 percent - up from 12 percent in 2011 - asked a brother or sister for help.

"I feel like we're making progress,'' said Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and professor at Florida Atlantic University. "People should be encouraged.''

When asked what helped, 72 percent of those encountering digital abuse responded that they changed their email address, screen name or cell number and it helped, while 66 percent who talked to a parent said it helped too. Less than one-third of respondents who retaliated found that helpful, while just as many said it had no effect, and 20 percent said getting revenge actually made the problem worse.

Girls were more likely than boys to be the targets of online meanness - but they also were more likely to talk to reach out for help.

The poll also indicated that young people are becoming more aware of the impact of cyberbullying. Some 72 percent, up from 65 percent in 2011, said online abuse was a problem that society should address. Those who think it should be accepted as a part of life declined from 33 percent to 24 percent.

Hinduja credits school programs that are making it "cool to care'' about others and increased awareness among adults who can help teens talk through their options, such as deactivating an account or going to school administrators for help in removing hurtful postings.

That was the case for Ball, whose parents encouraged her to fight back by speaking up. "They said this is my ticket to helping other people,'' she said.

With their help, Ball sent copies of the abusive emails, texts and Facebook pages to school authorities, news outlets and politicians, and organized an anti-bullying rally. She still maintains a Facebook site called "Hernando Unbreakable,'' and she mentors local kids identified by the schools as victims of cyberbullying.

She said she thinks if other teens are reaching out more for help, it's as a last resort because so many kids fear making it worse. That was one reason Jennifer Tinsley, 20, said she didn't tell her parents in the eighth grade when another student used Facebook to threaten to stab and beat her.

"I didn't want them to worry about me,'' Tinsley, now a college student in Fort Wayne, Ind., said of her family. "There was a lot of stress at that time. ... And I just didn't want the extra attention.''

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, every state but Montana has enacted anti-bullying laws, many of which address cyberbullying specifically. Most state laws are focused on allowing school districts to punish offenders. In Florida, for example, the state Legislature this year passed a provision allowing schools to discipline students harassing others off campus.

In Florida's recent cyberbullying case, the police took the unusual step of charging the two teen girls with third-degree felony aggravated stalking. Even if convicted, however, the girls were not expected to spend time in juvenile detention because they didn't have criminal histories.

The AP-NORC Center/MTV poll was conducted online Sept. 27 through Oct. 7 among a random national sample of 1,297 people between the ages of 14 and 24. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Funding for the study was provided by MTV as part of its campaign to stop digital abuse, "A Thin Line.''

The survey was conducted by the GfK Group using KnowledgePanel, a probability-based online panel. Respondents were recruited randomly using traditional telephone and mail sampling methods. People selected who had no Internet access were given it for free.

Copyright Associated Press

Strasburg, Harvey square off as Nats continue series against Mets

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Strasburg, Harvey square off as Nats continue series against Mets

Nats (27-18) vs. Mets (26-18) at Nationals Park

The Nationals and Mets are back at it on Tuesday night in their fifth matchup of the season so far, a rematch of last Thursday's showdown between star pitchers Stephen Strasburg (7-0, 2.80) and Matt Harvey (3-6, 5.77).

Strasburg got the better of their last meeting in a blowout Nationals win. It was such a bad start for Harvey - nine runs, six earned - that his availability for this game was at one point in question. Harvey, though, has decided to power through his recent struggles hoping to find his way on the mound and against a division rival.

For the Nationals, their lineup is as expected. For the Mets, David Wright is out with Ty Kelly in at third base. And Michael Conforto is in at left field instead of Yoenis Cespedes, who has moved over to center field to replace Juan Lagares.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, XM 183
Starting pitchers: Nats - Stephen Strasburg vs. Mets - Matt Harvey

NATS

CF Ben Revere
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Stephen Strasburg

METS

RF Curtis Granderson
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
LF Michael Conforto
CF Yoenis Cespedes
2B Neil Walker
1B Eric Campbell
C Kevin Plawecki
3B Ty Kelly
RHP Matt Harvey

Follow along with GameView here

Longtime minor leaguer Tolliver finally getting a chance

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Longtime minor leaguer Tolliver finally getting a chance

As Ashur Tolliver joins the Orioles in Houston, it’s the third in a series of long and fascinating minor league careers that ends with an unexpected promotion to the major leagues. 

In the last three years, Caleb Joseph, Mychal Givens and now Tolliver were added to the major league roster. The three have much in common. 

Though the three have never been teammates until now, they have experiences in common, and some that are quite different. 

Givens, Joseph and Tolliver have played a combined nine seasons for Bowie. Neither Givens nor Tolliver had played above Double-A before their sudden additions, and Joseph had a total of 44 games at Norfolk. 

Joseph was added in 2014 when Matt Wieters was injured and he’s stayed ever since. Givens has had three stints, and has been with the Orioles continuously since last August. 

Givens and Tolliver were both drafted in 2009, but Givens, who was picked in the second round, stumbled as an infielder and was converted to pitching in 2013. 

Tolliver had progressed to Frederick by 2011, but missed the next year due to shoulder surgery, and didn’t get to Bowie until 2014.

The left-hander has been there ever since. 

Each of them was unprotected in the Rule 5 draft and could have left the organization in minor league free agency, but stayed.

Tolliver was invited to January’s minicamp and spring training, favorably impressing manager Buck Showalter. 

It’s not all that unusual for major leaguers to finally debut at 28, but it isn’t common for them to play entirely in one organization. 

NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

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NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

The NFL has decided on the locations of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls. The vote took place at the NFL owners meetings in Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Atlanta will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019, while South Florida (Miami) will get the event in 2020 and Los Angeles will host in 2021. 

The cities chosen each included new or upgraded stadiums in their pitches to the league. 

Atlanta will be home to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opening in 2017. 

Miami's stadium (Sun Life Stadium from 2010-2016) is undergoing a $400 million renovation that will include an open-air canopy to provide shade for 92 percent of seats, according to Sports Illustrated. Construction should be complete before the 2017 season. 

And Los Angeles will boast a new 300-acre, campus-style stadium housing the Rams and potentially a second team. The $2.6 billion project will be the most expensive sports arena in the world, reports CNN, and should be ready before the 2019 NFL season.