A new study
found that both kids and young adults who were targeted by cyberbullies were twice as likely to hurt themselves or attempt to commit suicide when compared with counterparts who had not been bullied online. Additionally, the researchers found that those performing the cyberbullying were also more likely to have suicidal thoughts and actions.
For the study, researchers looked at more than 150,000 kids and young adults in 30 different countries. The participants were followed for over 21 years.
Among the additional findings from the researchers:
- Boys who were both victims and bullies were at an especially high risk of depression and suicidal actions, compared with girls
- Participants who had been bullied online were more likely to go on to become cyberbullies
A researcher with the study, Paul Montgomery of the University of Birmingham, indicated that school anti-bullying policies should include prevention of cyberbullying. Other ways that schools could help to prevent cyberbullying include:
- Training for both staff and students on cyberbullying awareness
- Online peer support
- The teaching of intervention techniques (for electronic bystanders, including instructions for contacting internet service providers and mobile phone companies)
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