It should come as no surprise to know that bullying could have lasting effects on victims. A report by researcher Sheryl Hemphill of the Australian Catholic University has revealed that cyber bullying in particular leads to theft, depression, school suspension and binge drinking.
The report which studied the behaviour of 900 Victorian students delivered the following sobering outcomes:
- Students who were cyber bullies in year 10 were 2.5 times more likely to steal a year later
- Victims of online attacks were at four times the risk of depression
- Victims were twice as likely to harm themselves
- Students who both perpetrated bullying and were victims of it were more than three times more likely to be suspended from school
- As above, perpetrators and victims were more likely to involve themselves in binge drinking
- Perpetrators and victims were predisposed to depression and marijuana use
Professor Hemphill highlighted that that the report was important insofar as it showed the long-term impact of cyber bullying.
“It is important that we have research that tries to investigate some of the things we hear about anecdotally,” Professor Hemphill said.
“The key message out of this is that both traditional and cyber bullying are issues that we need to address.
“We need to think about prevention measures, rather than waiting for these problems to come up.
“We need to get in early and prevent them for occurring in the first place.”
Cyber bullying has been on an increase over the last ten years and this study has reported that 6.18 per cent of year 10 students were victims of some sort of online harassment. It is only a matter of time before this percentage rivals that of “traditional bullying” – 30 per cent.
The report went on to advocate for prevention programs which were show to actually reduce the instances of cyber bullying.
Judi Fallon, program manager of The Alanna and Madeline Foundation’s eSmart School Program which teaches children and adolescents the dangers of cyber bullying, warns all overseers to remain vigilant of the issue.
We still have to be always vigilant about what we do online, but we have to be vigilant about road rules, water safety — it is a part of our life now,” she said.
“Our kids are permanently switched on so we have to keep them vigilant about what they are doing.”