If you were offended by that headline, or perhaps felt intimidated by it, then you are not alone. In fact, a new study published by the Journal of School Health has revealed that cyber-bullying is so common amongst teenagers who use the Internet a lot (so that's most teenagers then) that it suggests an astonishing 72 percent have fallen victim to just such an incident during the last year alone.
And that's just the percentage of teens who both took part on this survey and reported the cyber-bullying incident in the first place. The true figure could be much, much higher as many victims of bullying, cyber or otherwise, stay quiet for fear of making matters worse. Indeed, the report says that "Most of the bullied teens did not tell their parents about the online incidents. They felt the need to deal with the problem on their own and were fearful of parental restrictions on internet use."
It also says that online bullying was, unsurprisingly, associated with "increased distress" as well as with physical bullying at school. Some 85 percent of the respondents who had reported at least one online incident, went on to report a bullying incident at school as well.
The findings were based on an anonymous web-based survey of nearly 1500 youngsters aged between 12 and 17.
"Just as school-based bullying is considered a public health concern, online bullying should be recognized as an issue that needs attention," the authors conclude. "Because of the generation gap in electronic communication, however, parents and educators need to better understand both the positive and negative functions of teen online behavior."