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Mental Health Woes Plague 'Cyberbullies' and Their Victims
Date:7/6/2010

act that about a third of teens in the United States and Finland report that they are victims of some type of bullying behavior "is a red flag that communities, schools, and families must respond more effectively to bullying, whether it occurs in person or electronically. This is an area that needs more real-world attention and action," Davis said.

For the study, a team led by Dr. Andre Sourander, from Turku University, collected data on 2,215 Finnish teens 13 to 16 years old. The teens were asked about cyberbullying and cybervictimization, as well as their overall health.

Teens who were victims of cyberbullying were more likely to come from broken homes and have emotional, concentration and behavior problems. These teens also found it harder to get along with others. In addition, they were prone to headaches, abdominal pain, sleeping problems and not feeling safe at school, the researchers found.

Cyberbullies were not without their own problems, however. Compared to teens who didn't engage in such behaviors, they were also more prone to suffering from emotional, concentration and behavior problems. In addition, they had trouble getting along with others and often suffered from hyperactivity and conduct problems. Cyberbullies also frequently smoked or got drunk, reported headaches, and were more prone to not feeling safe at school, the study found.

Teens who were both cyberbullies and cybervictims suffered from all of these conditions, Sourander's group found.

"Of those who had been victimized, one in four reported that it had resulted in fear for their safety," the researchers wrote. The feeling of being unsafe is probably worse in cyberbullying compared with traditional bullying, they added. That's because traditional bullying typically occurs on school grounds, so victims can at least feel safe within their homes. With cyberbullying, however, victims are at risk 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the team noted.

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