Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cyberbullying Linked to Risk of Depression in Kids, Teens: Research Review

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cyberbullying Linked to Risk of Depression in Kids, Teens: Research Review

Article excerpt

Cyberbullying linked to depression risk: study

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TORONTO - About one in four children and adolescents on average report being the targets of cyberbullying, which is linked to a risk of depression among those victimized through email, texting or social media sites like Facebook, an international research review has found.

The analysis of 36 studies, conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta and the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Ottawa, was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

"Within the depression category, there was a consistent association between exposure to cyberbullying and an increased likelihood of depression," said lead author Michele Hamm, a research associate at the Edmonton university.

The studies showed that females are more often the objects of cyberbullying than males and that relationship issues -- between friends or in a dating situation -- are often at the heart of the electronic attacks.

"We did pull out a few themes," said Hamm. "Girls tended to be bullied about their popularity and appearance, and boys tended to be bullied more with homophobic comments and (about) their physical abilities."

The research found the prevalence of online bullying ranged from about five per cent to 74 per cent of respondents, depending on the study, for a mean rate of 23 per cent, or about one in four.

Effects of being bullied included becoming withdrawn, angry or embarrassed, she said. Among those who were persecuted, there was a tendency for grades to drop off and school attendance to fall.

Rob Frenette, co-executive director and co-founder of BullyingCanada Inc., said depression is a common response to being cyberbullied and the effects can persist into adulthood, especially if the perpetrator continues their campaign beyond high school or university, for instance.

The stress of being bullied can lead to disturbed sleep, nightmares and sleepwalking. …

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