The report explains that public interest in cyber-bullying has been spurred by media coverage depicting cases of young people who have attempted suicide as a consequence. However, media reports often appear to exaggerate the prevalence of cyber-bullying as well as the direct causal link with suicidal behaviours.
Nonetheless, there is evidence showing that being involved in cyber-bullying, as a victim, bully or both, increases the risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and self-harm. The risk has been linked to the viewing of websites where suicide-related content is discussed.
The new study, by Dr Anke Görzig of LSE's Department of Media and Communications and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of West London, investigates adolescents' viewing of web content related to self-harm and suicide, as well as their psychological problems, while differentiating between three cyber-bullying roles (bullies, victims or bully-victims).
Data came from the LSE EU Kids Online study, a random sample of 25,000 Internet-using European children aged 9-16. Six per cent of the sample reported being a cyber-victim, 2.4 per cent a cyber-bully and 1.7 per cent both (cyber-bully victims). In the full sample, viewing web content containing self-harm was reported by 6.8 per cent and suicide by 4.3 per cent. 4.1 per cent were classified as having emotional problems, 16.8 per cent behavioural problems and 15.8 per cent had problems in relating to their peers.
Content Originally Published By: Science Daily