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Cyber Bullies Have Real World Allies

January 28, 2013

bullied teen girl - Shutterstock photoCyber Bullying and Real Life Bullying Closely Linked

Studies have shown that teen suicides caused by cyber bullying involve real life bullying. Cyber bullying is normally perpetrated through media such as social networks, texting, emailing, image and picture messaging.

Of 41 cyberbullying-related suicides covered in the news since 2003, the victims were subjected to both online and in-person abuse in 78%, according to John LeBlanc, MD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Another 17% involved cyberbullying only and 5% involved traditional in-person bullying only, he reported at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting here.

Now research and documentation have shown that most young people who are cyber bullied are also physically bullied. Cyber bullying brings a whole new dimension to bullying. Physical bullying is overt where cyber bullying is unseen. But the effects of cyber bullying can be even greater. There can be some relief from physical bullying whereas cyber bullying can happen any time of the day or night. And the cyber bullier can remain anonymous.

 To find out what other factors might be involved in cyberbullying-related suicides, LeBlanc and his colleagues used Google and Factiva to identify news stories about such cases and to learn more about the victims. They did not place any restrictions on victim age or other factors. They identified 41 suicides tied to cyberbullying — 24 I n females and 17 in males — that occurred from 2003 through April 2012. All of the victims were teens, ranging in age from 13 to 18 (mean 15.1). The lack of adult cases indicates that “there’s something very vulnerable about this age group,” LeBlanc said. Most of the cases (26) occurred in the U.S., with others in Australia (six), the U.K. (five), and Canada (four). The number of cases appeared to increase over time, with the largest number reported last year. Many of the teens who committed suicide were reported to have struggled with mental health conditions, including mood disorders in 32% and depression in 15%. However, 37% of the teens were reported to have been acting normally before killing themselves.

Education about online etiquette begins when the children are very young. If parents teach their kids from an early age then there is less chance of cyber bullying occurring at teenage years.

 “If you teach people good digital citizenship and good digital etiquette, you decrease digital mishaps,” she said.


Filed in: General

About the Author:

Christopher is an IT specialist with 30 years of experience in developing technology working with corporates and SME’s. Chris is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, as well as numerous certificate based qualifications in technology and application development. Christopher is the CEO of internetSOS - A project to help people learn how to protect themselves online.

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