Mean girls

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For three months, I've been following a group of eighth-grade girls here in the Valley. What I've witnessed is nothing short of disturbing!

The way girls treat each other is not only mean, it's vicious.

So bad, in fact, that a local school counselor has set up lunch-time therapy groups to try to help girls deal with this issue. We had exclusive access inside these therapy groups and we got the scoop on what's going on, straight from the girls.

One thing we found out: Teenagers are on technology overload. Between text messaging and MySpace, girls don't talk face to face. The cat fights and confrontations are brought home from school, thanks to the Internet.

We interviewed a girl named Hannah. She often fakes being sick to avoid dealing with all the backstabbing and gossip. Some girls even go so far as to transfer schools because they can't handle all the "drama"!

Make no mistake, this goes beyond typical teenage feuding.

This vindictive, backstabbing behavior can create scars that run deep. Scars that can last a lifetime.

What can parents do? We ask a child psychiatrist from Phoenix Children's Hospital. He says, for one thing, parents need to wake up and stop trying to be friends with their kids. They need to be parents. The doctor says this "mean behavior is a total cultural problem... that has just kind of caught us, society as a whole."

Watch a preview now!

Watch the whole story on "Good Evening Arizona" tonight at 5.