Cyber bullying: Is Your Niece or Nephew a Victim?

Originally published on Savvy Auntie.

A new study from HealthDay reports that roughly 16% of high schoolers are victims of cyberbullying—about 1 in 6 having been targeted within the past year.

Data was collected from more than 15,000 public and private high school students who participated in a yearly survey on risky youth behaviors in 2011. It was found that approximately 31% of high school students spent three or more hours a day playing video games or engaging in computer activities apart from regular schoolwork. Among those who were cyberbullied, girls were more than twice as likely to be targeted than boys, and white students were more than twice as likely to be victims as black students.

According to study author Dr. Andrew Adesman, Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York:

Electronic bullying of high school students threatens the self-esteem, emotional well-being and social standing of youth at a very vulnerable stage of their development. Although teenagers generally embrace being connected to the Web and each other 24/7, we must recognize that these new technologies carry with them the potential to traumatize youth in new and different ways. As technology continues to advance and computers become that much more accessible, cyberbullying will continue to grow as a hurtful weapon against kids and teens.

Since cyberbullying may occur unbeknownst to parents, aunts can play an important role by checking in and becoming aware of their nieces’ and nephews’ cyber activities. Nieces and nephews may share their issues with their favorite ConfidAunt, or be more likely to be her Friend on Facebook or Instagram.

For helpful information on bullying prevention and online safety, we are linking to the following MedlinePlus pages:

Bullying
Internet Safety
Teen Health

Photo: marin

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