A new study(PDF) finds students who experience cyberbullying are more likely to consider or attempt suicide than those who don’t, in part because of challenges that don’t exist with other forms of bullying.
The report, from the Cyberbullying Research Center, used data from nearly 2,000 randomly selected youths from a large school district in the south. Of those students, it found cyberbullying victims were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide as those who hadn’t experienced cyberbullying.
The findings come while several national incidents—most notably the charging of nine students who allegedly abused a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl with text messages and verbal insults until she hanged herself in January—have put the prevention of all forms of bullying in the spotlight.
The study noted a connection between all forms of bullying and suicide. But it said cyberbullying can be more dangerous, because it can be done by anyone, anytime, and anywhere, making it easier to do and harder to prevent. The bullying is often more permanent—archived on message boards and Web sites—and therefore can leave more lingering effects than lunchroom name calling or even an assault, according to the study.
You might remember that the study’s authors, Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin, joined us for an online chat on the topic of cyberbullying back in 2008. And while another tragedy in New York and legislative action in Massachusetts has again pushed this issue to the forefront, Education Week has been covering this issue for several years.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.