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Cyber Bullying Affects One in 10 Students
Date:6/29/2009

But researchers find supportive parents help keep abusive behaviors at bay

MONDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Bullying still makes life miserable for plenty of students, only these days some aggressors apparently operate electronically.

A new study shows that many children in grades 6 through 10 have either bullied classmates or been bullied by them, sometimes online or through cell phones.

The study by the National Institutes of Health, released online June 29 in the Journal of Adolescent Medicine, analyzed data from the World Health Organization's 2005/2006 survey of human behavior in school-aged children.

According to the study, 20.8 percent of respondents reported being perpetrators or victims of physical bullying in the past two months; 53.6 percent were victims of verbal bullying; 51.4 percent were victims of relational bullying, which involves social exclusion, and 13.6 percent of cyber bullying on a computer, cell phone or other electronic device.

"Bullying definitely remains prevalent and seems to peak in middle school," said study author Ronald Iannotti, staff psychologist at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Middle school years are difficult."

The study did not look for an increase or decrease in school bullying over the years, but some experts believe the rate has stayed stable or even declined over the past decade. The study is one of the first to examine the recent phenomenon of cyber bullying.

The authors defined physical bullying as hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving and locking a classmate indoors. Verbal bullying included calling someone mean names, making fun or teasing in a hurtful way and saying mean things about a person's race or religion. The researchers defined relational bullying as spreading rumors or socially excluding others.

The study revealed these trends:

  • Verbal bully
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