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In-Person Bullying Still Bigger Problem Than Cyberbullying: Expert
Date:8/5/2012

SATURDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Face-to-face bullying is far more common than cyberbullying among youth and should be the main focus of prevention programs, according to an expert.

Psychologist Dan Olweus, of the University of Bergen, in Norway, said his findings in several large-scale studies challenge the widespread belief that cyberbullying is the major problem. He was scheduled to present his research Saturday at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

"Claims by the media and researchers that cyberbullying has increased dramatically and is now the big school-bullying problem are largely exaggerated," Olweus said in an APA news release. "There is very little scientific support to show that cyberbullying has increased over the past five to six years, and this form of bullying is actually a less frequent phenomenon."

His study of about 450,000 U.S. students in grades three to 12 found that 18 percent of students said they had been verbally bullied and about 5 percent said they had been cyberbullied. About 10 percent said they had verbally bullied others and 3 percent said they had cyberbullied others.

In another study of 9,000 Norwegian students in grades four to 10, Olweus found that 11 percent said they had been verbally bullied, 4 percent had been cyberbullied, 4 percent had verbally bullied others, and 1 percent had cyberbullied others.

Other studies showed that 80 percent to 90 percent of students who were cyberbullied also experienced traditional forms of bullying such as verbal and physical abuse, as well as being the subject of false, hurtful rumors.

"These results suggest that the new electronic media have actually created few 'new' victims and bullies," Olweus said. "To be cyberbullied or to cyberbully other students seems to a large extent to be part of a general pattern of bullying where use of electronic media is only one possible form, and a form wit
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