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Cyberbullying study: Every third student is an internet bullying victim
The anonymous internet is an ideal place for young bullies. According to a current survey, every third student has already been the victim of an online harassment. A third of the perpetrators are also victims.
Most abusive news According to a recent survey, every third student has been victim of internet bullying. The study published on Friday by the universities of Münster and Hohenheim near Stuttgart also shows that particularly injurious forms of cyberbullying are comparatively rare. So offensive news was the most common. Of the more than 5,600 students who were interviewed at 33 schools in southern Germany, 14.5 percent said they wrote offensive messages. Confidential information would be shared with third parties in 7.9 percent of cases. Hard bullying cases such as uploading embarrassing pictures or videos so that they become accessible to the general public are rather rare.
Victim and perpetrator at the same time According to the study, a clear distinction between perpetrators and victims is not always possible. About a third of those surveyed stated that they had become victims on the one hand and that they themselves victimized on the other. At secondary schools, the proportion of these “perpetrators / victims” is over 45 percent. The rest of those affected are divided equally into victims and perpetrators.
Older students bully more Although younger students are familiar with the phenomenon of cyberbullying, it seems to be a problem above all in higher grades. If around eight percent of the schoolchildren are perpetrators during the seventh grade, the percentage will increase significantly afterwards to over 14 percent in the tenth grade. Ruth Festl from the University of Hohenheim, co-author of the current study, says: "The older people have greater media literacy." They would be more secure online and less monitored by their parents. "That could be an explanation." She also suspects a media-related effect: "In general, our results show that cyberbullying tends to take place between older students." This is not the case with traditional bullying.
Internet is good for revenge campaigns According to Thorsten Quandt, professor of communication science in Münster, the first results indicate "that the Internet is particularly well suited for revenge campaigns if you yourself became a victim". This pattern is particularly striking in secondary schools: "The Secondary school students use the Internet more often as a platform to take revenge and to fight back virtually after a bullying attack. " According to Festl, further surveys and a more in-depth analysis should follow in the coming months and years. The investigation is part of the project "Cyberbullying in schools" funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Not representative For all of Germany, however, the study is not representative, also because the selected schools are mainly in southern Germany. Previous studies have sometimes found the results of internet bullying to be very different, and other surveys have shown that the number of bullying victims is significantly lower. However, according to a study a few years ago, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) came to similar results to the current study from Münster and Hohenheim and also believed that one in three young people was already victim of cyberbullying. Gritli Bertram, a social worker from Hanover, said at the time that many young people said that "it was just a joke." The acting students are mostly not aware of the scope of their deed. Such an approach is relevant under criminal law. (ad)
Image: Angela Parszyk / pixelio.de