Since everything we do online has a digital footprint, it is possible to trace anonymous sources of bullying on the Internet, he said. Patchin noted that tangible evidence of cyberbullying may be more clear-cut than "your word against mine" situations of traditional bullying.
Patchin advises that kids who are being cyberbullied keep the evidence, whether it's an e-mail or Facebook post, so that they can show it to adults they trust. Historically, there have been some issues with schools not disciplining if bullying didn't strictly happen at school, but today, most educators realize that they have the responsibility and authority to intervene, Patchin said.
Adults can experience cyberbullying also, although there's less of a structure in place to stop it. Their recourse is basically to hire a lawyer and proceed through the courts, Patchin said.
Even in school, though, solutions are not always clear.
Turley's mother called the school on his behalf, but the students involved only got a talking-to as punishment. Cyberbullying wasn't considered school-related behavior, at least at that time, he said.
"I was just so afraid of people," says Turley, explaining why he went to different middle schools each year in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. He stayed quiet through most of it, barely speaking to other students.
Fighting back by speaking out
Turley started slowly merging back into "peopleness" in eighth grade when he started putting video diaries on YouTube. Soon, other students were asking him to help them film school project videos, track meets and other video projects.
In high school, Turley discovered an organization called WeStopHate.org, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping people who have been bullied and allow them a safe space to share their stories.
Emily-Anne Rigal, the founder of the organization, experienced bullying in elementary school, getting picked on for her weight. Although she and Turley lived on opposite sides of the country, they became friends online, united by their passion for stopping bullying.
WeStopHate.org has achieved a wide reach. Rigal has received all sorts of honors for her efforts, from the Presidential Volunteer Service Award to a TeenNick HALO Award presented by Lady Gaga.
Turley designed the WeStopHate.org website and most of its graphics, and is actively involved in the organization. In additional to Rigal, he has many other friends in different states whom he's met over the Internet.
"I got cyberbullied, and I feel like, with that, it made me think, like, well, there has to be somebody on the Internet who doesn't hate me," he said. "That kind of just made me search more."
Ashley Berry, 13, of Littleton, Colo., has also experienced unpleasantness with peers online. When she was 11, a classmate of hers took photos of Ashley and created an entire Facebook page about her, but denied doing it when Ashley confronted the student whom she suspected.
"It had things like where I went to school, and where my family was from and my birthday, and there were no security settings at all, so it was pretty scary," she said.
The page itself didn't do any harm or say mean things, Ashley said. But her mother, Anna Berry, was concerned about the breach of privacy, and viewed it in the context of what else was happening to her daughter in school: Friends were uninviting her to birthday parties and leaving her at the lunch table.
"You would see a girl who should be on top of the world coming home and just closing herself into her bedroom," Berry said.
Berry had to get police involved to have the Facebook page taken down. For seventh grade, her current year, Ashley entered a different middle school than the one her previous school naturally fed into. She says she's a lot happier now, and does media interviews speaking out against bullying.
These days, Berry has strict rules for her daughter's online behavior. She knows Ashley's passwords, and she's connected with her daughter on every social network that the teen has joined (except Instagram, but Ashley has an aunt there). Ashley won't accept "friend" requests from anyone she doesn't know.