When it comes to bullying it seems that the old-fashioned face-to-face name calling is still the most damaging. But if you are a kid in today’s tech-savvy world, receiving a mix of both cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying can prove to be the most detrimental.
Today reports about a new study published in the journal American Psychological Association that suggests kids who experience bullying solely through technology like text messages and social media feel more in control of the situation. What’s more is that cyber-bullying is less-likely to be repeated and usually involves only one perpetrator.
Kids who are bullied by their peers in real life have a much harder time dealing with the situation and it often involves multiple perpetrators. But understandably researchers found that the worst of all for kids is when they are barraged by a mix of bullying via technology and in real life.
Researchers found that victims of mixed-bullying (both cyber and face-to-face) were more likely to encounter violence and bullying that lasts for a month or longer. Perpetrators of this type of mixed-bullying are also more likely to know something embarrassing about their victim. One 15-year-old victim of mixed-bullying explains to researchers, “I got in a fight last year and people keep posting it on Facebook. The comments made on there are ridiculously rude. I get cut down and called fat, told fat people should not fight a skinny person, that I should be ashamed of myself.”
Mixed-bullying comes with the unique stressor that kids simply cannot escape the harassment. At school via their peers or at home via their computer or phone, the bullying can continue around the clock. Lead author of the study Kimberly J. Mitchell warns, “It is these mixed episodes that appear to be the most distressing to youth. We believe that focusing on harassment incidents that involve both in-person and technology elements should be a priority for educators and prevention experts who are trying to identify and prevent the most serious and harmful bullying.”
What do you think of the study that suggests a mix of cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying can be the most damaging?
How do you think parents and kids should deal with this type of bullying?