Study Says 23% of Children Are Victimized by Cyberbullying

Two boys looking at a computerFor many parents, bullying is still little more than an uncomfortable childhood rite of passage. But cyberbullying means bullies can attack their victims free of risk, and often without even revealing their identities. More than a quarter of cyberbullying victims contemplate suicide, suggesting that cyberbullying is far more than just an annoyance. According to a new analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics, nearly 1 in 4 children is a cyberbullying victim.

Cyberbullying: A Common Experience

Researchers looked at 36 different cyberbullying studies. The original studies found a cyberbullying prevalence that ranged from 4.8% to 73.5%. When they calculated the actual rate of cyberbullying, researchers arrived at a median figure of 23%, suggesting that almost 1 in 4 children has been cyberbullied.

Relationship issues were the most common justification for cyberbullying, with girls significantly more likely to be bullied than boys. Name-calling, gossip, and rumors were the most common forms of bullying, with many children reporting that bullies circulated their pictures. Some bullying victims tried to stop the abuse by blocking the bully, but most children reported that little could be done to stop the bullying.

The Effects of Cyberbullying

The review found an inconsistent relationship between cyberbullying and some mental health issues, but the connection between bullying and depression was strong. Other studies have also uncovered a link between cyberbullying and substance abuse, low self-esteem, self-harm, and behavioral difficulties.

Some research suggests that cyberbullying is more likely to cause suicidal thoughts than traditional bullying. This may be because cyberbullying is more difficult to escape. Children may not know the identity of the attacker, contributing to chronic anxiety and distrust.

Though no federal laws address bullying, many states require schools to have anti-bullying policies. When bullying rises to the level of harassment or stalking, parents may be able to seek additional legal remedies.

References:

  1. Analysis finds 23% of children are victims of cyberbullying. (2013, June 23). Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295740.php
  2. Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/statistics.html
  3. Federal laws. (2014, March 31). Retrieved from http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/federal/

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  • Martha

    Martha

    June 24th, 2015 at 3:01 PM

    This one thing alone makes me want to get rid of computers in the home. I know that there is no real way to avoid it with the prevalence of social media and devices, but this is just a totally different world than the one we grew up in.

  • Ella

    Ella

    June 25th, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    This is one of those silent things that many children are not going to say anything about because they do not want to be seen as a victim. I wish that other children who witness this kind of behavior would be willing to stand up for them but I think that kids have become too afraid that they will become a victim of that same bullying if they try to take up for a friend.
    I hope that we can at least teach our kids that it is ok to tell an adult when something like this is going on because there are far too many children losing out on what should be a wonderful time of their lives because they are being treated so cruelly by others.

  • Gregory

    Gregory

    June 25th, 2015 at 4:58 PM

    The link is there between bullying and future addiction and substance abuse problems because this literally beats up the soul of a person. Anyone who proclaims that they don’t understand the big deal and that it is all begin done in jest and fun is simply lying. There is nothing good that will ever come from being bullied as either an adult or a child.

  • Craig

    Craig

    June 26th, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    Parents, we all must be far more diligent about who we let our kids hang out with, both in person and online. We have to remain aware of the websites that they visit and aware of changes in behavior that could indicate that they are going through this sort of thing.

  • Bennett

    Bennett

    June 29th, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    I have to think that a large part of this is that now so may of our kids spend a great deal of time online, and so the bullying has moved from the playground to the bedroom. In some ways this is eve n more frightening to me because you don’t know what exactly is being said unless your kids tell you. There are no witnesses like there would be if bullying is happening at school, and so who is going to believe whom? Often times in a bullying situation it is too late to do anything by the time you find out that your child is being hurt, so it leaves parents wondering how to handle these things and what we truthfully can do to avoid it altogether.

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