May 6, 2013
16 Percent Of All High Schoolers Have Been Cyberbullying Victims
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
One out of every six high school students has been the victim of cyberbullying over the past year, and one-third of them typically spend at least three hours on an average school day playing video games or using computers for recreational purposes, according to a new study.
Dr. Andrew Adesman, author of the study and the chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, and his colleagues based their findings on a review of data collected as part of the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
More than 15,000 public and private high school students participated in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey of health-risk behaviors, according to the researchers. Dr. Adesman presented his team´s findings Sunday as part of the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
“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,” Adesman said in a statement. “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.”
For the first time, the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey asked students whether or not they had been victimized by electronic bullying (including through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, texting and websites) over the past 12 months. They were also asked how many hours they typically played video or computer games, or used desktops or laptops for purposes other than completing school work.
The study discovered that 16.2 percent of all high school students admitted to having been victims of cyberbullying within the past year, and that girls (22.1 percent) were more likely to be targets of this type of bullying than boys (10.8 percent). In addition, whites were twice as likely to be cyberbullying victims as African-Americans.
“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, who is also from Cohen Children's Medical Center. “By identifying groups at higher risk for electronic bullying, it is hoped that targeted awareness and prevention strategies can be put in place.”
As for the video game and recreational computer portion of the research, it revealed that 31 percent of high school students spent at least three or more hours gaming or using computers for non-school purposes each day. Boys (35.3 percent) were more likely to spend three hours per day playing than girls (26.6 percent).
“As technology continues to advance and computers become that much more accessible, cyberbullying will continue to grow as a hurtful weapon against kids and teens,” said Dr. Adesman.