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Cyber-Bullying Increases

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Around two-thirds of children who say they have been bullied online have not received any previous form of harassment according to research from the University of California at Riverside published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"Internet bullying has emerged as a new and growing form of social cruelty," Kirk Williams and Nancy Guerra of the University of California wrote in the report. The researchers said that schools and parents need to work together to prevent such behavior without depriving children and teens of Internet access.

The report, from researchers organized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicated a 50 percent increase in the number of kids ages 10 to 17 who said they were harassed online, up from 6 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in 2005.

"Youth harassed online were significantly more likely to also report two or more detentions or suspensions, and skipping school in the previous year," Michele Ybarra and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported in another study in the journal.

Ybarra said that youth who reported experiencing cyber- bullying were eight times more likely than all other youth to carry a weapon to school. They found that 64 percent of those that had been bullied online were not the victims of physical or verbal aggression in person.

"The anonymity provided by new technology limits a victim from responding in a way that may ordinarily stop a peer’s aggressive behavior or influence the probability of future acts, which provides an advantage to the perpetrator," the CDC’s Corinne David-Ferdon and Marci Feldman Hertz wrote.

Complete bans on using the Internet are not likely to work Hertz said. "Technology has a lot of benefits for young people. They can make social connections they otherwise might not have the opportunity to make."

Schools should also become involved and add cyber- bullying to any policies they currently have in place concerning bullying Hertz said. School districts in Florida, South Carolina, Utah and Oregon are developing new policies to address cyber-bullying.

Cyber-Bullying Increases
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