School cyberbullies 'more likely to attempt suicide'

Youngsters who bully classmates through modern technology are more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide, according to a study.

New research suggests that it is not just the victims of cyberbullying that are more likely to attempt suicide or think about doing so than their peers, but the perpetrators themselves who are also at higher risk.

The study, by UK researchers, including academics at Birmingham University, is based on a review of available studies and evidence on the impact of cyberbullying on children and young people across 30 countries.

Cyberbullying is using electronic communication to bully another, such as by sending intimidating, threatening or unpleasant messages.

The researchers found that cyberbullies - those that perpetrate such abuse - are around 20% more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to attempt suicide than non-perpetrators.

Those who have been victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to self harm and to exhibit suicidal behaviours than those who have not been victims.

Professor Paul Montgomery, of Birmingham University, said: "The people doing the bullying themselves have issues that cause them to act in that way, so it is unsurprising to see that the cyberbullies themselves, in turn, have these quite marked problems.

"Prevention of cyberbullying should be included in school anti-bullying policies, alongside broader concepts such as digital citizenship, online peer support for victims, how an electronic bystander might appropriately intervene; and more specific interventions such as how to contact mobile phone companies and Internet service providers to block, educate, or identify users."

AP


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