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Online Bullying Just As Harmful for Children As Offline

Last Updated: February 19, 2013.

 

Children as likely to skip school, consider suicide in response to cyber, mobile phone bullying

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School children who are the victims of bullying via Internet or mobile phone are just as likely to skip school or consider suicide as those who are physically bullied, according to research published online Feb. 7 in the International Criminal Justice Review.

TUESDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- School children who are the victims of bullying via Internet or mobile phone are just as likely to skip school or consider suicide as those who are physically bullied, according to research published online Feb. 7 in the International Criminal Justice Review.

Thomas J. Holt, Ph.D., of Michigan State University in East Lansing, and colleagues collected data from a self-report survey of 3,096 children from schools in Singapore to assess how online and offline bullying relate to school truancy and suicidal ideation.

The researchers found that 22 percent of students who experienced traditional bullying contemplated or skipped school (compared with 6 percent of those with no traditional bullying experiences), and 22.4 percent reported suicidal ideation. Of those who experienced cyberbullying, 26.7 percent considered skipping school and 28.1 percent contemplated suicide, compared with 14.8 and 16.1 percent, respectively, for those who were not victimized. The figures for those bullied via mobile phone were similar (27.8 and 26 percent, respectively). There were no significant differences in the correlates of skipping school between the genders. Males who experienced mobile phone bullying victimization had increased odds of suicide ideation, compared with females.

"The direct effect of traditional bullying victimization on both skipping school and suicidal thoughts indicate that attempts to diminish bullying in school environments may help reduce multiple negative outcomes for school performance and mental health overall," the authors write. "At the same time there is a need to identify strategic interventions that extend beyond school boundaries due to the influence of cyber and mobile phone bullying on both truancy and suicide."

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