The likelihood of cyberbullying is about seven times greater between current or former friends or dating partners than between young people who don’t know each other, a study says.
The research led by Diane Felmlee, a professor of sociology at Pennsylvania State University, focuses on 800 students in grades 8-12. It is published in the September issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.
About 17 percent of students surveyed were aggressors or victims of cyberbulling within the previous week, found Felmlee and co-author Robert Faris, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. Of those, almost 6 percent were purely victims, 9 percent acted as aggressors, and about 2 percent were both.
When it comes to dating, young people often harbor resentments after a breakup, and they may take out these feelings on an ex-partner through cyber aggression, Felmlee said. They may also think they can win back a previous boyfriend or girlfriend, or prevent them from dating someone else, the researcher added.
The study also found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youths were four times as likely as their heterosexual peers to be victims of cyberbullying.
A version of this article appeared in the August 31, 2016 edition of Education Week as Cyberbullying