UTICA, NY-- After several local schools received threats fueled by social media this week, the Oneida County Sheriff's Department is addressing the criminal aspects of cyberbullying.
In the last 10 years bullying has become more prevalent online through Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms. From 2007 to 2016 reports of cyberbullying has nearly doubled from 18 percent to 34 percent, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center.
"We treat this like ...very seriously just because you're not putting your hands on that person, or pushing that person or attempting to assault that person, you can be just as criminally responsible through bullying through cyber technology," said Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol. "Whether we're talking Facebook or Snapchat or Twitter whatever the case may be."
He said something that can start out as harmless rumors can quickly evolve into something else much more damaging.
"We treat everything seriously now, our world has changed since 9/11," he said. "We take everything seriously we talk about school violence, I mean since the Columbine shooting years ago, anything that comes in and gives the remote possibility of something that is going to happen at a school or that any children may be in danger, protocols are put in place immediately."
A local cybersecurity expert explained that just because something is deleted from a phone, doesn't mean it goes away.
"Anywhere someone goes on the internet is always being tracked," said Jake Mihevc, associate dean of the Business, Cybersecurity and Computer Sciences at Mohawk Valley Community College. "I would say to anyone out there that you should expect your all of your data to be kept ... anything you type or anything you enter into an application such as Facebook, or Snapchat that will be archived indefinitely as well."