Online or off, bullying proves harmful

February 11, 2013

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- 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, according to a study led by a Michigan State University criminologist.

The findings, published in the International Criminal Justice Review, suggest parents, school officials and policymakers should consider bullying experiences both on and offline when creating anti-bullying policies and procedures.

"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."

Using survey data from more than 3,000 third- through 11th-grade students in Singapore, Holt and colleagues 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.

In addition, females and younger students were more likely to consider suicide, which reflects other research findings.

Holt said parents should pay attention to warning signs of bullying such as mood changes, sadness, school failures, social withdrawal and a lack of appetite.

When it comes to cyberbullying, he said "careful supervision of youth activity online, including the use of filtering software, can help reduce the likelihood that the child is targeted by bullies via the Web."

Managing the child's mobile phone use is encouraged, Holt said, although there is evidence kids are less likely to report this type of bullying for fear of losing their phone.

"Thus," he said, "parents must carefully educate their children on the risk of bullying victimization via mobile phones and ensure that they can speak to one or both parents about negative experiences."
-end-
Holt's co-authors were Grace Chee from MSU, Esther Ng from the Coalition Against Bullying for Children and Youth in Singapore and Adam Bossler from Georgia Southern University.

Michigan State University

Related Suicide Articles from Brightsurf:

Suicide prevention in COVID-19 era
COVID-19 presents a new and urgent opportunity to focus political will, federal investments, and global community on the vital imperative of suicide prevention.

Racial discrimination linked to suicide
New research findings from the University of Houston indicate that racial discrimination is so painful that it is linked to the ability to die by suicide, a presumed prerequisite for being able to take one's own life, and certain mental health tools - like reframing an incident - can help.

Factors associated with firearm suicide risk
Researchers compared the risk of suicide by firearm based on sociodemographic characteristics of US adults.

Suicide mortality and COVID-19
Reasons why U.S. suicide rates may rise in tandem with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are explained in this article that also describes opportunities to expand research and care.

Media reports of celebrity suicide linked to increased suicide rates
Media reporting of suicide, especially celebrity suicides, is associated with increases in suicide in the general population, particularly by the same method as used by the celebrity, finds an analysis of the latest evidence published by The BMJ today.

More youth suicide found in poor communities across US
A study led by Jennifer Hoffmann, M.D., from Ann & Robert H.

BU study finds new factors linked to suicide
A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers finds that physical illness and injury raises the risk of suicide in men but not women, along with a plethora of other insights into the complex factors that may increase a person's risk of suicide.

Investigating the full spectrum of suicide
A recent study published in Injury Prevention described a method for categorizing self-injury mortality (SIM) to help us better examine national trends for today's epidemics of suicide and drug-related deaths.

Between 16 and 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide
Thinking of taking one's own life (ideation), planning it, threatening to do it or even attempting to do it is regarded as suicidal behaviour.

Social networks and suicide prevention
Depression and mental health problems are increasing - and suicide and drug overdose rates are rising dramatically in the USA.

Read More: Suicide News and Suicide Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.