Online Bullying Just as Harmful as Traditional
Children who are the victims of online bullying are just as likely to skip school or even contemplate suicide as kids who are physically bullied, according to a study published in the International Criminal Justice Review.
"We should not ignore one form of bullying for the sake of the other," said Thomas Holt, associate professor of criminal justice on Science Daily. "The results suggest we should find ways to develop school policies to combat bullying within the school environment and then figure out how to translate that to the home, because the risk goes beyond the schoolyard."
Online Bullying is No Joke
New research, among the first of its kind on cyberbullying, uses survey data from 3,000 third to 11th grade students in Singapore. The data looked at the relationship between physical bullying, cyberbullying, and bullying via mobile phones.
The research, according to Science Daily, looked specifically at bullying and how it relates to kids skipping school and considering suicide. Researchers found that 22 percent of kids who were physically bullied considered skipping school, while 27 percent of kids who were bullied online via blogs, email, and chat rooms, made the same consideration.
The statistics were similar for those considering suicide. Twenty-two percent of kids who were physically bullied, 28 percent of those who were bullied online, and 26 percent of those who were bullied via cell phone thought about suicide.
Female students and younger students were the most vulnerable.
When it comes to cyberbullying, Holt said on Science Daily, "careful supervision of youth activity online, including the use of filtering software, can help reduce the likelihood that the child is targeted by bullies via the Web."
Why It May Be Worse Online
The numbers are actually higher for cyberbullying, which makes sense considering that it can, in many ways, actually be more traumatic. The visibility and embarrassment that goes along with being rejected or made fun of online is far more widespread. In the worst examples, teenagers have taken videos of sexual encounters using their phones and then spread them virally.
Being rejected at school and in the schoolyard is one thing, but when it spreads all over the internet or to a child’s entire Facebook friend list, the damage is even worse. What’s more, those doing the bullying feel less accountable for the damage they’ve done when it’s done online, rather than in person.