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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017 Aug;26(8):899-908. doi: 10.1007/s00787-017-0954-6. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

Cyberbullying: a storm in a teacup?

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK. D.Wolke@warwick.ac.uk.
2
Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK. D.Wolke@warwick.ac.uk.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.

Abstract

Cyberbullying has been portrayed as a rising 'epidemic' amongst children and adolescents. But does it create many new victims beyond those already bullied with traditional means (physical, relational)? Our aim was to determine whether cyberbullying creates uniquely new victims, and whether it has similar impact upon psychological and behavioral outcomes for adolescents, beyond those experienced by traditional victims. This study assessed 2745 pupils, aged 11-16, from UK secondary schools. Pupils completed an electronic survey that measured bullying involvement, self-esteem and behavioral problems. Twenty-nine percent reported being bullied but only 1% of adolescents were pure cyber-victims (i.e., not also bullied traditionally). Compared to direct or relational victims, cyber-victimization had similar negative effects on behavior (z = -0.41) and self-esteem (z = -0.22) compared to those not involved in bullying. However, those bullied by multiple means (poly-victims) had the most difficulties with behavior (z = -0.94) and lowest self-esteem (z = -0.78). Cyberbullying creates few new victims, but is mainly a new tool to harm victims already bullied by traditional means. Cyberbullying extends the reach of bullying beyond the school gate. Intervention strategies against cyberbullying may need to include approaches against traditional bullying and its root causes to be successful.

KEYWORDS:

Aggressive behavior; Bullying; Cyberbullying; Interpersonal relationships; Self-esteem; Victimization

PMID:
28188382
PMCID:
PMC5532410
DOI:
10.1007/s00787-017-0954-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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