According to a recent review, one in four kids and teens was victim of cyberbullying at some point in the past. Moreover, victims reported a high risk of depression caused by rude messages posted on social media sites, or sent to their e-mail accounts or mobile phones.
The review was conducted by a mixed team from the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and the University of Alberta, while its final results were published June 22 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Michele Hamm, lead author of the review and researcher from the Edmonton university, said that his team found a “consistent” link between cyberbullying exposure and a high risk of depression.
According to the studies scrutinized in the review, girls were more likely to be bullied than boys. Also, the main reason behind cyberbullying attacks was either dating or friendship situations.
“We did pull out a few themes. Girls tended to be bullied about their popularity and appearance, and boys tended to be bullied more with homophobic comments and (about) their physical abilities,”
In some of the studies, only five percent children and adolescents reported at least one cyberbullying case, while in other studies that figure jumped to 74 percent. The average was 23 percent which represents one in four respondents.
Scientists learned that the victims of cyberbullies became either angry or depressed, but nearly all respondents said that they felt embarrassed by their online peers’ abusive comments. Moreover, victims had lower grades and were less motivated to attend school.
Experts from BullyingCanada Inc. explained that the feelings of misfitting and depression may continue throughout adult life especially if the bullies continue the destructive influence they have upon their victims during high-school or college.
Additionally, children and adolescents who were cyberbullied on a regular basis, reported sleep disorders, nightmares and even sleepwalking, while some of them declined to use their social media accounts or technology in general.
Researchers observed that those who declined to use modern day devices to communicate were too fearful to continue using an Internet-connected computer that granted bullies a 24-7 access to their lives.
But most of cyberbullying victims chose a passive way of protecting themselves by either ignoring aggressors or simply blocking them. Kids usually didn’t tell anyone about the online aggression. And if they did tell someone it was a close friend, rather than a parent or school teacher. The research team believes that children are too scared that their parents would cut off their Internet access, and they would lose touch with their friends.
Image Source: Telegraph
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