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New study reveals prevalence of cyberbullying and its psychological impact on nonheterosexual youth
Date:3/8/2010

ientist at ISU's Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE), the study is being published in this month's special LGBT-themed issue of the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy.

The results underscore the helplessness felt by victims of cyberbullying. Forty percent of the non-heterosexual respondents indicated that their parents wouldn't believe them if they were being bullied online, while 55 percent reported that their parents couldn't do anything to stop it. Fifty seven percent also indicated that they didn't think a school official could do anything to stop it.

"They feared that there might be more retribution by 'tattling,'" said Blumenfeld, who was bullied as a teen for being gay.

"One of the things we found is that the LGBT students really want to make a difference," said Cooper, who authored her doctoral dissertation on minority stress and the well-being of sexual minority college students. "They want their stories told. They want people to know what they're going through, but they don't want the repercussions of being bullied. So being able to respond to this survey was very helpful."

One in four of the LGBT and allied students responded that they needed to learn how to deal with cyberbullying by themselves. More than half also feared telling their parents about the cyberbullying because they might restrict their use of technology, which Blumenfeld says is often the "lifeline to the outside world" for many young LGBT students who have been ostracized by their peers at school.

The ISU study also proposes strategies for cyberbullying prevention. Eighty percent of the survey's respondents indicated that their peers should do more to stop it.

"One of the strategies coming out of this study since respondents expect and want their peers to step in more is that we should find ways on our campuses to empower young people to speak up and act as allies," Blumenfeld said. "In bullying circles
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Contact: Mike Ferlazzo
ferlazzo@iastate.edu
515-294-8986
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert

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