June 29, 2009

Study: One in 10 kids bullied online

Nearly 10 percent of children are bullied by electronic means such as text messages, with girls more likely to be victims, U.S. researchers said.

The study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found bullying remains much more common in person, with large numbers of kids continuing to harass one another by spreading rumors, turning fellow students into outcasts and intimidating others through words and violence. Thirteen percent of students said others physically bullied them -- hit, kicked, pushed or shoved them or locked them indoors.

Stephen Russell, director of the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth & Families at the University of Arizona, said there was a bright spot in the study -- the findings suggest parents have the power to prevent kids from bullying or being bullied.

Parental warmth and support may improve your own psychological development, meaning you're less likely to feel a need to degrade others to improve your own self-esteem, study co-author Ronald Iannotti, a researcher with the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.

The study authors examined a 2005 national survey that asked 7,182 students in grades 6-10 about bullying. About one-third of students said others called them mean names, made fun of them or teased them in a hurtful way; about one-third acknowledged doing the bullying themselves; and 26 percent to 32 percent said others spread rumors about them or ostracized them.