Online or off, bullying proves harmful

February 11, 2013, Michigan State University
Online or off, bullying proves harmful
A study led by Thomas Holt, Michigan State University, found that kids who are cyberbullied are just as likely to skip school and consider suicide as kids who are physically bullied. Credit: Michigan State University

Children who are bullied online or by mobile phone are just as likely to skip school or consider suicide as kids who are physically bullied, according to a study led by a Michigan State University criminologist.

The findings, published in the International Criminal Justice Review, suggest parents, school officials and policymakers should consider bullying experiences both on and offline when creating anti-bullying policies and procedures.

"We should not ignore one form of bullying for the sake of the other," said Thomas Holt, associate professor of criminal justice. "The results suggest we should find ways to develop to combat bullying within the and then figure out how to translate that to the home, because the risk goes beyond the schoolyard."

The study is one of two new research papers from MSU scholars dealing with cyberbullying. The other study, led by Saleem Alhabash in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, suggests positive online comments are an effective way to fight cyberbullying.

Holt and colleagues, using survey data from more than 3,000 third- through 11th-grade students in Singapore, analyzed the relationships between physical bullying, cyberbullying and mobile phone bullying on skipping school and suicidal thoughts. The study, one of the first to explore bullying in Southeast Asia, echoes research findings from the United States and Canada.

According to the study, 22 percent of students who were physically bullied skipped school or thought about skipping. By comparison, 27 percent of students who were bullied online (which includes email, blogs and chat rooms) and 28 percent who were sent bullying text messages on a mobile phone skipped school or thought about skipping.

Similarly, 22 percent of students who were physically bullied reported , while 28 percent of those who reported cyberbullying and 26 percent who were bullied via cell phone said they considered suicide.

In addition, females and younger students were more likely to consider suicide, which reflects other research findings.

Holt said parents should pay attention to of bullying such as , sadness, school failures, and a lack of appetite.

When it comes to cyberbullying, he said "careful supervision of youth activity online, including the use of filtering software, can help reduce the likelihood that the child is targeted by bullies via the Web."

Managing the child's mobile phone use is encouraged, Holt said, although there is evidence kids are less likely to report this type of bullying for fear of losing their phone.

"Thus," he said, "parents must carefully educate their children on the risk of bullying victimization via mobile phones and ensure that they can speak to one or both parents about negative experiences."

Explore further: Cyberbullying less frequent than traditional bullying, according to international studies

Related Stories

Cyberbullying less frequent than traditional bullying, according to international studies

August 6, 2012
Traditional in-person bullying is far more common than cyberbullying among today's youth and should be the primary focus of prevention programs, according to research findings presented at the American Psychological Association's ...

Bullying harms kids with autism, parents say

January 11, 2013
(HealthDay)—Nearly 70 percent of children with autism suffer emotional trauma as a result of bullying, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

Reducing sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy does not affect effectiveness

January 17, 2018
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients treated with as few as five sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy find it equally effective as receiving 12 sessions.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.