Bullying proves harmful both online and off
Washington, February 12 : Children who are bullied online or by mobile phone are just as likely to skip school or consider suicide as kids who are physically bullied, a new study has warned.
"We should not ignore one form of bullying for the sake of the other," said Thomas Holt, associate professor of criminal justice. "The results suggest we should find ways to develop school policies to combat bullying within the school environment and then figure out how to translate that to the home, because the risk goes beyond the schoolyard."
The study is one of two new research papers from MSU scholars dealing with cyberbullying.
The other study, led by Michigan State University criminologist Saleem Alhabash, suggests positive online comments are an effective way to fight cyberbullying.
Holt and colleagues, using survey data from more than 3,000 third- through 11th-grade students in Singapore, analyzed the relationships between physical bullying, cyberbullying and mobile phone bullying on skipping school and suicidal thoughts. The study, one of the first to explore bullying in Southeast Asia, echoes research findings from the United States and Canada.
According to the study, 22 percent of students who were physically bullied skipped school or thought about skipping. By comparison, 27 percent of students who were bullied online (which includes email, blogs and chat rooms) and 28 percent who were sent bullying text messages on a mobile phone skipped school or thought about skipping.
Similarly, 22 percent of students who were physically bullied reported suicidal thoughts, while 28 percent of those who reported cyberbullying and 26 percent who were bullied via cell phone said they considered suicide.
The study has been published in the International Criminal Justice Review.