Cyberbullying Continues To Rise

Research shows that about 5 out of every 30 high school students report being victims of cyberbullying within the past year. In addition, roughly 10 of those 30 students spend about three or more hours per day playing video games or using a computer for other purposes than school work.

These numbers arise from the analysis of data gathered from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where 81% of schools and 87% of students from the 15,425 public and private high schools responded. The survey represents a national sample of high school students and takes place every two years “to monitor six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability and social problems among U.S. youths”.

"Electronic bullying of high school students threatens the self-esteem, emotional well-being and social standing of youth at a very vulnerable stage of their development," said study author Andrew Adesman, MD, FAAP, chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York. "Although teenagers generally embrace being connected to the Web and each other 24/7, we must recognize that these new technologies carry with them the potential to traumatize youth in new and different ways."

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed students about whether they had been bullied in the past 12 months either through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites and/or texting. In addition, students were questioned on the number of hours they spent playing video games or using a computer for any other purpose than school work.

Results showed that 1 in 6 high school students or 16.2% reported being a victim of electronic bullying within the past 12 months. More specifically, results revealed that 22.1% of girls reported being bullied electronically while only 10.8% of boys reported being victims of electronic bullying, making girls more than twice as likely to report being victims of cyberbullying. In addition, “whites reported being the victim of cyberbullying more than twice as frequently as blacks”.

Furthermore, thirty-one percent of high school students reported playing video games or using a computer for something other than school work for 3 or more hours each day. Interestingly, boys (35.3%) were more likely than girls (26.6%) to report playing video games for more than three hours per day.

"Electronic bullying is a very real yet silent danger that may be traumatizing children and teens without parental knowledge and has the potential to lead to devastating consequences," said principal investigator Karen Ginsburg, also at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York. "By identifying groups at higher risk for electronic bullying, it is hoped that targeted awareness and prevention strategies can be put in place."

Unfortunately, cyberbullying will only become more and more common in society, especially teens, as technology continues to advance. More research should help to spread awareness and develop legislation that may succeed in decreasing the number of victims of cyberbullying, thereby reducing the rising number of extreme cases that often result in fatalities.

Cyberbullying Rampant Among High School Students: Nearly One-Third of Youths Also Report Playing Video/Computer Games for More Than 3 Hours a Day


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