Bullying by school-age children is evolving from face-to-face taunting into remote electronic taunting. Cyber bullying via e-mail, text messages, and Web sites is affecting children across the world in the time it takes to hit “send”.
Bullying has been found to begin as early as preschool, and appears to peak in sixth through eighth grades. Thirty percent of sixth- through tenth-graders in public and private schools throughout the United States reported being bullies (13%), victims (11%) or both bullies and victims (6%).
Research has demonstrated that cyber bullying is devastating for both aggressors and victims, but teachers and parents are only just beginning to understand its dangers.
British researchers found that although nearly 75% of teachers worried that students might become victims of cell-phone text-message bullying, only 56% of the students’ parents showed concern that their children might be susceptible to this form of cyber bullying.
The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use reported that cyber bullying affects students around the world. Australian and American children stay home from school because they feel threatened, and Scandinavian children are fearful of using their school locker rooms.
Cyber bullying is particularly dangerous for students who are susceptible to depression and anxiety.