Cyber bully victims 'more likely to be depressed than tormentors'

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 22, 2010 09:30 hrs

A new study has discovered that young victims of cyber bullying are more vulnerable to depression as compared to their tormentors.

Cyber bullying is different from the traditional one, the kind that occurs in the school building or face-to-face. Victims and bully-victims - those who both dish it out and take it - are more likely to suffer from depression than those who are bullies, but not victims.

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

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

"In traditional bullying, somebody writes an insult on the bathroom wall and it's confined to the environment of the school. But with cyber bullying, in the majority of victimization, there is a wider resonance of abuse, to all corners of the world," said Jorge Srabstein, medical director of the Clinic for Health Problems Related to Bullying at Children's National Medical Center.

"Individuals can be more isolated when bullying occurs by cell phone or computer. The mechanism for cyber bullying is 'I'm making fun of you; I could have made a photo of you that's not even true and it can go to Facebook," said Ronald Iannotti, study co-author.

Gender is not a factor, as boys and girls equally are vulnerable.

In worldwide efforts, a common thread is that you cannot confront bullying without educating people and changing the community culture.

"Kids may be reluctant to tell their parents in case they lose their computer or cell phone privileges. On the other side, parents should monitor children's phones and computers," Iannotti concluded. (ANI)

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