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One-third of US Teen Netizens are Victims of Cyber-bullying

A research by the Pew Internet Project has revealed that one-third of US teenagers who surf the Internet have been victims of cyber-bullying.

It was found during the study that teens are more pestered by the sharing of their private information on the Internet as compared to direct threats.

The survey also revealed that girls were more likely than boys to be targets, and teens who shared their identities online were the most vulnerable.

However, most teenagers still believe that the majority of bullying happens offline.

Around 32 per cent of the teenager participants reported experiencing one of the harassments questioned about-having a private e-mail, IM or text messaging forwarded or posted where others could see it, the victim of an aggressive email, IM or text message, having a rumour spread about them online, or having an embarrassing photograph posted online without permission.

The survey revealed that 39 per cent of young people who used social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, had been bullied in some way. In comparison, only 22 per cent of children who did not use social networks reported being bullied.

It was also found that the websites themselves offered new avenues for bullies.

"There's this boy in my anatomy class who everybody hates and some girl started up this I Hate [Name] MySpace thing. So everybody in school goes on it to say bad things about this boy," the BBC quoted a 16-year-old girl as saying.

Report author Amanda Lenhart said that the survey was an attempt to determine why teenagers go online to bully.

"Bullying has entered the digital age. The impulses behind it are the same, but the effect is magnified. In the past, the materials of bullying would have been whispered, shouted or passed around," she said.

"Now, with a few clicks, a photo, video or a conversation can be shared w ith hundreds via e-mail or millions through a website, online profile or blog posting," she concluded.


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