Cyberbullying puts teens at risk

June 5, 2013 by Sharyn Alden
Cyberbullying puts teens at risk

Teenage victims of cyberbullying, defined as the use of the internet or cell phones to send hurtful and harassing messages, are more likely to develop symptoms of depression, substance abuse and internet addiction, reports a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Conversely, teens who are depressed or who abuse drugs are also often targets of cyberbullies.

Understanding the link between and in adolescence is critical, said the study's lead author, Manuel Gamez-Guadix, Ph.D. of the University of Deusto in Spain. "A number of adolescents are both victims of cyberbullying and perpetrators of cyberbullying, but victims are at higher risk for psychological and behavior health problems, like substance abuse, after six months of bullying."

Gamez-Guadix and his colleagues surveyed eight hundred and forty-five students (498 girls and 337 boys) between the ages of 13 and 17 years-old. They found that 24 percent had been a victim of one cyberbullying behavior, such as someone sending a threatening or insulting message, 15.9 percent said they experienced two bullying behaviors and 8 percent were victimized by three cyberbulling behaviors.

Cyberbullying, say the researchers, is a growing problem, especially among adolescents. Hurtful and harassing messages, rumors, inappropriate or fake photos and videos can be easily and frequently posted anonymously in text messages, emails or on making them hard to avoid. Messages from cyberbullies are often hard to trace and difficult to delete.

Robert D. Sege, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at Boston University noted, "This is an important study because it contributes to what we already know about cyberbullying. It's pretty clear if you are cyber bullied, you are more apt to be vulnerable to a cluster of non-adaptive behaviors. I found it particularly interesting that if teens are cyber bullied, they are more apt to become depressed, and conversely, if they are depressed, they are more apt to be bullied."

" are living their life on the Internet today," noted Sege. "This includes societal experiences and non-adaptive behaviors that are often clustered together during their teen years."

Gamez-Guadix added "It is important to include strategies to prevent cyberbullying within interventions for behavioral problems during adolescence. Mental health professionals should pay special attention to these problems in the treatment of victims of cyberbullying."

Explore further: Cyberbullying only rarely the sole factor identified in teen suicides

Related Stories

Cyberbullying only rarely the sole factor identified in teen suicides

October 20, 2012
Cyberbullying – the use of the Internet, phones or other technologies to repeatedly harass or mistreat peers – is often linked with teen suicide in media reports. However, new research presented on Saturday, Oct. 20, ...

Cyberbullying rampant among high school students

May 5, 2013
Step into a class of 30 high school students and look around. Five of them have been victims of electronic bullying in the past year.

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 ...

Cyberbullying may call for new prevention tactics

April 23, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Cyberbullying is different than traditional bullying, and anti-bullying programs need to use specific measures to combat online aggression, a new Canadian study says.

Recommended for you

Children with fragile X syndrome have a bias toward threatening emotion

August 23, 2017
Anxiety occurs at high rates in children with fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common form of inherited intellectual disability. Children with co-occurring anxiety tend to fare worse, but it can be hard to identify in infants. ...

So-called "bright girl effect" does not last into adulthood

August 23, 2017
The notion that young females limit their own progress based on what they believe about their intelligence—called the "bright girl effect"—does not persist into adulthood, according to new research from Case Western Reserve ...

High moral reasoning associated with increased activity in the human brain's reward system

August 22, 2017
Individuals who have a high level of moral reasoning show increased activity in the brain's frontostriatal reward system, both during periods of rest and while performing a sequential risk taking and decision making task ...

Like adults, children show bias in attributing mental states to others

August 22, 2017
Young children are more likely to attribute mental states to characters that belong to the same group as them relative to characters that belong to an outside group, according to findings published in Psychological Science, ...

Yoga and meditation improve mind-body health and stress resilience

August 22, 2017
Many people report positive health effects from practicing yoga and meditation, and experience both mental and physical benefits from these practices. However, we still have much to learn about how exactly these practices ...

Wealth disparity and family income impact the brain development of female youth

August 22, 2017
Female teenagers living in neighbourhoods with wide salary gaps and a low-income household show changes to their brain maturation that could indicate a higher risk of developing mental illness in adulthood, suggests a recently ...

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.