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Cyber Bullying Affects One in 10 Students
Date:6/29/2009

ing was the most prevalent of the four major forms of bullying.
  • Boys are more likely to be involved in physical and verbal bullying.
  • Girls are more likely to spread rumors and ostracize a victim.
  • Bullying tends to decline as children get older, with the bulk of bullying taking place in middle school, especially seventh and eighth grades.
  • Compared with whites, black adolescents were more likely to be bullies, and less likely to be victims.
  • Hispanics were more involved in physical bullying than whites but more likely to suffer cyber bullying.
  • How many friends a child has plays a big part in determining hostile behavior, the researchers said. For physical, verbal and relational abuse, kids with lots of friends are at higher risk of becoming bullies. Conversely, those with fewer friends are victims more often.

    "This may reflect a need among adolescents to establish social status, especially during transition into a new group," the study said. "Friendship protects adolescents from being selected as targets of bullies."

    Cyber bullying -- bullying through a computer or other communication device -- is still a small phenomenon. Researchers found that 8 percent had received harassing computer pictures or messages, and 6 percent were bullied by cell phone. More boys were cyber bullies; more girls were cyber victims.

    The size of the children's social circle did not affect their involvement in electronic bullying. However, affluence seems to increase the risk, possibly because of the greater availability of computers and cell phones in wealthier families.

    "There's been a lot of recent emphasis on cyber bullying, but the fact is that there is a lot less of it than in-person bullying," said Frederick Zimmerman, an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health. "Parents can certainly help by being aware of what their kids are doing
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