Stories impacting San Diego's Latino Community

New Online Safety Campaign Targets Latinos

With a large Latino population county school officials hope to raise awareness about a growing issue. NBC 7's Diana Guevara talks to a victim and his mother who hope noone else will have to face what they have.

By Diana Guevara
|  Thursday, Mar 22, 2012  |  Updated 7:01 AM PDT
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There has been a dramatic increase in cyber bullying incidents, and at the same time a lack of awareness about this issue among Latinos. Diana Guevara spoke to member of the San Diego County Office of Education about a workshop designed to teach Latinos cyber safety.

There has been a dramatic increase in cyber bullying incidents, and at the same time a lack of awareness about this issue among Latinos. Diana Guevara spoke to member of the San Diego County Office of Education about a workshop designed to teach Latinos cyber safety.

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Cyber bullying happens far too often, including here in San Diego County. In some cases it's having devastating effects on innocent school children.

Which is why county school officials have launched a new initiative to share this information.

The San Diego County Office of Education is targeting the Latino community with a series of workshops about internet safety.

While language has been a barrier, county school officials say it's mainly a lack of awareness on how to handle these types of situations.

Take Ozzy Macias for example, he is in his senior year of high school, supposed to be having the time of his life.  But for the 17-year-old, it's been one of the toughest school years yet.

His mother says he was being bullied about everything from his looks to his speech.

But not at school or in person. Online. On Myspace and Facebook.

Ozzy was born with Digeorge syndrome, a chromosome deficiency that has affected his speech.

“It’s hard I wish people would be more understanding and not bully him so much so he can have the high school experience he so much wants,” said Leticia Lee, Ozzy’s mother.

She also says he has been teased about being special needs for years.  

With it happening online, she says it's gone too far and has to stop. 

This is one of the reasons why the San Diego County Office of Education is reaching out the Latino community to raise awareness about cyber-bullying. 

A community which has lacked the information it needs to deal with internet safety.

“Believe it or not many parents don't even know that this is happening and the kids are going through this on their own,” said Enrique Gonzalez with the San Diego County of Education.

The San Diego County Office of Education and the ESET Foundation held their first in a series of workshops about internet safety Wednesday.

They plan to continue these workshops over the next few months.

For more information on these workshops you can visit their website www.securingourecity.org

Diana Guevara covers stories involving San Diego's Latino community. Send her your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.  Find more of her stories in our special section.

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