1 in 5 Youngsters Are Victims Of Cyber-Bullying

Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University have been looking into cyber-bullying, they reckon a fifth of youngsters have been victims.

Cyber-bullying involves people using the internet or mobile phones to send texts or images to harass, hurt or embarrass another person.

The study revealed cyber-bullying was far common amongst girls.

Amongst the young people surveyed, 18.4% admitted to being a victim of cyber-bullying and 69% of those bullied were girls.

More girls than boys had also witnessed cyber-bullying, known somebody who had been cyber-bullied or known somebody who had cyber-bullied others.

Of those who said they had been affected by cyber-bullying the most common effects were on their confidence, self-esteem and mental and emotional well-being.

Over a quarter of those who had been cyber-bullied (28.8%) said that they had stayed away from school and over a third (38.9%) had stopped socialising outside school as a result of cyber-bullying.

Most young people thought cyber-bullying was just as harmful as other forms of bullying (74.4%).

Some thought it was far worse because this bullying is permanent in written or picture format, could get very personal and be transmitted to many more people more quickly.

It was also suggested that the secretive nature of cyber-bullying caused additional fear in the victim.

Also, because cyber-bullying can take place at any time and in any place, options for escape are limited.

Steven Walker, who led the research which surveyed over 490 young people across the country, said: "While most online interactions are neutral or positive the internet provides a new means through which children and young people are bullied.

"Some people who cyber-bully think that they won’t get caught if they do it on a mobile phone or on the internet. The people who cyber-bully are usually jealous, angry or want to have revenge on someone, often for no reason at all.

"Many of the respondents in our study thought that cyber-bullies do not actually think they are bullying. In the main they thought that cyber-bullying was seen by bullies as merely a form of ‘harmless fun’, a joke and therefore not an issue."