Reuters 1 September 2014
Like victims of face-to-face bullying, kids who experience internet bullying are vulnerable to mental health and substance use problems – but spending more time communicating with their parents may help protect them from these harmful consequences, a new study suggests.
For example, the researchers found, regular family dinners seemed to help kids cope with online bullying. But they say talk time with parents in cars or other settings can also help protect against the effects of cyberbullying.
“In a way, cyberbullying is more insidious because it’s so hard to detect,” said lead author Frank J. Elgar of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University in Montreal.
“It’s hard for teachers and parents to pick up on,” Elgar told Reuters Health by phone.
He and his team used voluntary, anonymous survey data from more than 18,000 teens at 49 schools in Wisconsin.
About one in five students said they’d been bullied on the Internet or by text messaging at least once over the past year.
“The good news is that most of the kids in this sample from Wisconsin had not been cyberbullied,” Elgar said.