Bullies Are More Likely to Be 'Friends'
Cyberbullying—bullying that usually occurs through texting or social media like Facebook and Twitter—can be a problem at any age. It is especially common in teens. According to a 2011 study, about 17 percent of students in grades eight through 12 reported being involved in cyberbullying within the past week—6 percent as victims, 9 percent as aggressors, and 2 percent as both.
A new analysis using data from that study shows that cyberbullying usually involves current or former friends and dating partners, rather than just casual acquaintances. Cyberbullying risk was seven times higher in teens who had been friends or had previously dated than in those who hadn’t been friends or dated.
People often think cyberbullies hide behind anonymity, but this study shows that close personal connections increase the risk. According to researchers, competition for social status and esteem, and resentful feelings after a break-up can contribute to the problem.
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