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Publication #FAR1713

Cyberbullying1

Kate Fogarty2

Figure 1. 
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Bullying—or aggression on a continual basis between peers where one has a power advantage over another—is common among children and adolescents. Using intimidation and physical force or spreading rumors is often what comes to mind when we think of bullying. However, a form that parents and teachers may be less aware of is called "cyberbullying." This involves put-downs, publicly sharing personal information, stalking, and other overt attacks upon a person, all using electronic communication.

Those who cyberbully may feel that cyberspace is an impersonal place to vent and consider it less harmful than face-to-face bullying. However, it can be very destructive. For example, teens may start a poll and cast online votes for the ugliest girl in the school. And, in Japan, cell phone photos taken in a locker room of an overweight boy were shared online with his peers. Death threats and hateful words travel easily through cyberspace in anonymous e-mails or cell phone calls.

Research on cyberbullying has found about 22% of teen males and 12% of teen females were cyberbullies, and about 25% of both males and females were victims. And although 64% of these teens believed adults would try to stop cyberbullying, only about 30% would actually tell an adult (Li, 2006).

Parents should be alert to the way their children use their electronic communications and talk to their children about the risks involved.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at http://www.familyalbumradio.org.

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Reference

Li, Q. (2006). Cyberbullying in schools: A research of gender differences. School Psychology International, 27, 157-170.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FAR1713, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Broadcast as program 432 in January 2007. Published on EDIS August 2012. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Kate Fogarty, assistant professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.