A new study warns of the risk of cyberbullying with teens over social media sites, with an average of 23 percent teens being constant victims of this phenomenon.
Bullying is not news concerning teens. Yet, cyberbullying implies more risks than usual peer to peer aggression to teens which are in a formative state.
The study was conducted by researchers of the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Ottawa and the University of Alberta. The results were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
The researchers reviews a number of 36 studies conducted on social media and teenage users. The main alarm signal drawn by the study concerns the association between depression and other mental health issues and cyberbullying.
U.S. teenagers are constant users of the Internet in a proportion of 95 percent. 85 percent of these teens are also avid users of social media. 50 percent were found to login to any social media website over two times daily, and 22 percent are taking to their social media of choice more than 10 times daily.
Michele Hamm, lead author of the study, commented:
“Within the depression category, there was a consistent association between exposure to cyberbullying and an increased likelihood of depression”.
Due to their vulnerability given by their age and the limited self-regulation abilities, exposure to social media bullying is detrimental to teenagers’ health. Cyberbullying, in connection with harassment, as well as privacy breaches are lead factors for mental health issues developed from social media interactions.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon in the American society. Yet, cyberbullying offers it a new intensity that may have more unpredictable effects. It is hard to grasp solutions for simmering it down, as oft times the bullies hide behind the anonymity provided by the Internet.
The research comes to prove that both for the victims of cyberbullying and for their tormentors, behind the screens lies a real threat posed by low self-esteem, self-harm, substance abuse, mental health and behavior issues.
Left unchecked and in anonymity, these threat have the potential of perpetuating beyond grasp.
The age group under the spotlight of the research was comprised of teens between 12 and 18 years old. 89 percent of them stated they own a Facebook account, where the majority of cyberbullying takes place.
Throughout the 36 studies reviewed in this research cyberbullying rated from 4.8 percent to 73.5 percent. Thus, the average of teens exposed to online bullying resulted at 23 percent, with girls more prone to be exposed than boys.
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