Depression high among cyber bullying victims

September 26th, 2010 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) Young victims of cyber bullying, which occurs online or by mobile phone, are more likely to suffer from depression than their tormentors, a new study finds.
Cyber bullying is different from traditional bullying that occurs in the school building or face-to-face.

Researchers at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Health Development in the US looked at survey results on bullying behaviour and signs of depression in 7,313 students in grades six through 10.

“The type of bullying we’re looking at peaks in middle school,” said study co-author Ronald Iannotti.

Lead author Jing Wang said the greater depression in victims alone compared to others involved in cyber bullying was unexpected.

The findings “really highlight the toxicity of cyber bullying”, said Jorge Srabstein, medical director of the Clinic for Health Problems Related to Bullying at Children’s National Medical Center.

In traditional bullying, “somebody writes an insult on the bathroom wall and it’s confined to the environment of the school,” Srabstein said. But with cyber bullying, “in the majority of victimisation, there is a wider resonance of abuse, to all corners of the world.”

“Individuals can be more isolated when bullying occurs by cell phone or computer,” Iannotti said.

What was not clear is which comes first: “We can’t be sure whether depressed kids have lower self-esteem and so are more easily bullied or the other way around,” Iannotti added.

In 2006, Megan Meier, a Missouri teen, committed suicide in the US because of online bullying.

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