Researchers behind a new study which examined past research has found a link between cyberbullying on social media and depression as well as a number of youths at risk.
While the rates of cyberbullying varied across the 36 social media cyberbullying studies the researchers examined, ranging from 11 percent to roughly 43 percent, the average came in around 23 percent, Reuters Health reported.
With roughly a quarter of the studies’ participants having reported cyberbullying on social media, the review’s lead author, Michele Hamm from the University of Alberta in Canada, wants to let kids know that “there are things that can be done about cyberbullying” and that they don’t need to be scared.
(Let kids know) there are things that can be done about cyberbullying (…) They don’t have to be scared.
The researchers also found a consistent link between cyberbullying and depression, but as the studies were limited to a singular point in time, they’re unsure of whether the link is persistent over longer periods of time.
While it’s unclear whether depression will, as an example, continue into adulthood, an unrelated study has found bullying to triple the risk of adult depression.
According to Hamm, some adolescents may refrain from reporting such incidences of Internet bullying out of fear that their Internet access will be revoked. Subsequently, she advises parents to encourage safe social media use instead of restricting access to such services.
Rachel Annunziato, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Fordham University in New York City, was quoted in a HealthDay News report on US News as having said that the “best advice we can give parents is to frequently monitor their children’s Internet use.”
The best advice we can give parents is to frequently monitor their children’s Internet use… We are in a position to spot and stop this behavior or help our children if they are recipients of cyberbullying. Another thing we can do is ask about cyberbullying. Our children may not realize that we are aware of this.
The study’s findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
An unrelated study in which researchers observed 5,400 British and American children from ages 7 to 13 suggests that bullying has worse consequences than child abuse.