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Study says cyber bullying is more common among friends, dating partners

A new study suggests that cyber bullying is more common between friends and dating partners rather than teenagers who have never had friends or dated people. The study also suggested that girls are more prone to being bullied than boys.

  • Updated: August 23, 2016 3:20 PM IST
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A new study says that cyber bullying is more likely to occur between current or former friends as well as dating partners than between teenagers who have never been friends or in a romantic relationship. Cyber bullying, also known as cyber aggression, is defined as electronic or online behavior intended to harm another person psychologically or damage his or her reputation. The findings showed that the likelihood of cyber bullying was approximately seven times higher between current or former friends and dating partners than between young people who had neither been friends nor dated each other. “A common concern regarding cyber bullying is that strangers can attack someone, but here we see evidence that there are significant risks associated with close connections,” said Diane Felmlee, Professor at Pennsylvania State University, in the US. Also Read - Starlink told to get license before offering satellite-based internet services in India by govt

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Friends, or former friends, are particularly likely to find themselves in situations in which they are vying for the same school, club, and or sport positions and social connections. “Competition for status and esteem can be one reason behind peer cyber bullying,” Felmlee added. In terms of dating partners, young people often have resentful feelings of hurt as a result of a breakup, and they may take these out on a former partner via cyber aggression, the study said. Further, girls were doubly prone to fall victim to cyber aggression than boys. “Cyber aggression towards girls may be in part an attempt to keep girls ‘in their places’,” Felmlee pointed out.

In addition, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth were four times as likely as their heterosexual peers to be victimized on a cyber platform. “The study reflects the social norms in our society that continue to stigmatize non-heterosexuality,” Felmlee noted. Overall, the incidents of cyber aggression ranged from threats and posting of embarrassing photos to nasty rumors and criminal activities such as identifying theft and physical relationship violence that the attacker has posted about online, the researchers said.

For the study, the team analyzed survey results of nearly 800 students in the grades from eighth to twelfth of a 2011 batch at a public school in a suburb of New York City. The survey collected data about participants’ social networks, dating history, and cyberbullying experiences. In most cases, the cyber aggression occurred over Facebook or text messages. The study was presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle, recently, and is set to appear in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly. ALSO READ: Cyberbullying less harmful than harassment in-person: Study

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  • Published Date: August 23, 2016 3:15 PM IST
  • Updated Date: August 23, 2016 3:20 PM IST



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