More than 10,000 children across Australia have been bullied online, including some who have died, according to research published by the University of Queensland.
Key points:Research by Queensland’s Department of Education and Training has found a link between cyberbullying and mental health issuesKey points Mental health experts warn cyberbullies can lead to depression and anxietyThe researchers found online abuse could be linked to physical and emotional stress, and be a gateway to suicide, suicide prevention and suicide prevention trainingMore than 10% of Australian children are bullied online every day, with almost 50% of these victims aged under 16.
The study, published in the Queensland University of Technology’s journal Cyberbullying: Theory, Research and Practice, analysed the experiences of children across the nation who were bullied on social media, including via the internet.
“In this paper we provide the first empirical evidence that cyberbullish behaviour can lead directly to physical stress, depression and suicidal ideation,” said the researchers.
“We also report on the impact of cyberbullied victims’ social isolation, as well as their use of suicide and suicidal prevention services.”
While many of the participants who had been bullied were either bullied as children or had suffered bullying in their own life, they had little or no contact with professionals, families or other children, and were therefore vulnerable to the negative outcomes of cyber bullying.”‘
The message is clear’: Department of Justice”The message that children have to be safe online is clear,” said Dr Fiona Young, lead author of the paper.”
It is that if you can’t protect your child from bullying, it is OK to bully them, as long as they are the victim.
“Dr Young said the research showed that cyber bullying could have a significant impact on children’s mental health.”
Cyberbullying is one of the most common forms of online bullying, and children can be bullied online for years without being identified,” she said.”
This means that young people are at risk of developing mental health conditions, which is particularly concerning when it comes to bullying of vulnerable young people.
“In the paper, Dr Young and her colleagues examined the experiences and behaviours of young people who had faced cyberbullaging, using data from a number of different sources.”
Our findings provide strong evidence that online bullying may be a pathway to mental health problems in young people,” Dr Young said.
Dr Young, a researcher in the School of Psychology at Queensland University, said there were several factors that might influence how someone was likely to experience cyberbullial behaviour.”
For example, people who are bullied on Twitter are more likely to be bullied as a result of bullying,” she explained.”
Bullyings occur in groups and it is often hard to tell who is the bully, or who the victim is, so these findings show that bullying may also lead to mental illness.
“Cyber bullying could also be a way to escape from bullyingIn another study, Dr Andrew Williams, the principal investigator of the Queensland Cyberbullies Research Centre, said cyberbulling could also lead people to escape bullying.”
Children who are the target of cyber-bullying may become isolated, and they may feel depressed and anxious, and so that’s where they can escape,” he said.
Professor Young said there was a need to educate parents about the dangers of cyber bullyying, especially when it involved young children.”
Parents need to understand that cyber-bullyies are potentially very harmful,” she told ABC Radio Brisbane.”
There’s a big social stigma around it, so we want to help parents to be aware of it.
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