Beware of cyberbullying

Online bullying doesn’t necessarily harm young people. 

Cyberbullying among preteens and teens has increased dramatically in recent years as young people spend more time socializing online, according to the Second Youth Internet Safety Survey

Cyberbullying includes sending hurtful or threatening e-mails or instant messages, spreading rumors or posting embarrassing photos of others.

Not all students feel distress when they're victims of such online bullying, say the researchers.

They found that only 38 percent of those bullied said such incidents made them very upset or afraid.

Bullying was most likely to cause worry when it involved offline contact or an adult harasser.

That distress can have an impact offline, the researchers found.

Young people who are victims of cyberbullying are more likely to report social problems and interpersonal victimization. Being victimized also increases their chances of harassing peers online themselves.

The research also revealed that 68 percent of cyberbullying victims spoke up about their harassment to friends, parents or other authority figures.

That disclosure provides an opportunity for parents and others to ask whether the child is struggling socially or experiencing communication problems with peers. They can then work with the child to find ways to prevent future incidents.