Social media abuse affects almost half of girls in UK

Nearly half (48%) of girls aged 11-18 in the UK and two-fifths of boys have experienced some form of harassment or abuse on social media | OnMedica

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Image source: Plan

The findings, based on a survey commissioned by girls’ rights charity Plan International UK, have prompted fears that young people, and girls in particular, are being forced to withdraw from social media due to fear of criticism, harassment or abuse. The charity today launches the #girlsbelonghere campaign to tackle the problem.

The survey revealed boys are significantly less likely than girls to experience abuse, with 40% reporting a negative experience. They are also less likely (59%) to take evasive actions to avoid being criticised such as refraining from posting on social media or holding back their opinions.

For the survey, research agency Opinium contacted 1,002 young people aged 11-18. Some 235 of the 486 girls and 202 of the 510 boys who responded reported online abuse.

The role of family and school-level factors in bullying and cyberbullying

This UK study aims to investigate student-level and school-level characteristics of those who become involved in bullying and cyberbullying behaviours as victims or perpetrators | BMC Pediatrics

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Background: Bullying and cyberbullying are common phenomena in schools. These negative behaviours can have a significant impact on the health and particularly mental health of those involved in such behaviours, both as victims and as bullies.

Conclusions: Bullying victimization and cyberbullying prevalence vary across school type and school quality, supporting the hypothesis that organisational/management factors within the school may have an impact on students’ behaviour. These findings will inform future longitudinal research investigating which school factors and processes promote or prevent bullying and cyberbullying behaviours.

Full reference: Leonardo B. et al. (2017) The role of family and school-level factors in bullying and cyberbullying: a cross-sectional study. BMC Pediatrics. Published: 11 July 2017

Suicide in children and young people linked to bereavement, new report finds

National suicide study also calls for better support for students, internet safety and services for children who self-harm.

The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Health Illness (NCISH)  has published Suicide by children and young people: National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness.

This report examines findings from a range of investigations, such as coroner inquests, into the deaths by suicide of people aged under 25 between January 2014 and December 2015 in England and Wales, extracting information about the stresses they were facing when they died.

  • The report emphasises the emotional impact of bereavement on young people and recommends that bereavement support should be widely available.
  • The researchers call on universities to do more to promote mental health on campus and support students who may be at risk.
  • The study identifies the treatment of self-harm as the most important service response in preventing suicide in young people.

Additional link: HQIP press release

Emotional wellbeing of young people

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Public Health England has carried out a thematic analysis of the recent Health Behaviour in School Age Children (HSBC) survey exploring the rising trend in poorer emotional wellbeing of young people.

The reports cover self-harm; cyberbullying and the emotional wellbeing of adolescent girls.  They examine the data and explore what protective factors may exist in a young person’s life which may be linked to their mental health outcomes, ranging from personal attributes, family, school, peer and wider community context.

Public Health England has also produced a summary of data from the most recent HBSC survey.

Te reports can be downloaded below:

Teen bullying and cyberbullying study reveals significant issues impacting youth

The study used a nationally-representative sample to address various forms of bullying and cyberbullying, sexting and dating violence, as well as thoughts of suicide, deviant behavior, and resilience or coping mechanisms | ScienceDaily

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This most recent study of middle and high school students found that when it came to school bullying:

  • 73 percent of students reported that they had been bullied at school at some point in their lifetime; 44 percent said that it had happened in the last 30 days.
  • Girls were more likely to have been bullied at school, while boys were more likely to have bullied others.
  • 34 percent of students had experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime; 17 percent said that it had happened in the last 30 days.
  • 4 out of 5 of the students who were cyberbullied said that mean comments were posted about them online.
  • 70 percent of the students said that someone spread rumors about them online.
  • Notably, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the students who experienced cyberbullying said that it really affected their ability to learn and feel safe at school.
  • Girls were most likely to have been bullied online, with the exception of those with recent experiences (30 days); while boys were more likely to have bullied others online.

Read the full overview here

Cyberbullying involvement and adolescent mental health

Fahy, Amanda E. et al. Longitudinal Associations Between Cyberbullying Involvement and Adolescent Mental Health.
Journal of Adolescent Health. published online ahead of print.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.06.006

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Abstract

Purpose

Cyberbullying differs from face-to-face bullying and may negatively influence adolescent mental health, but there is a lack of definitive research on this topic. This study examines longitudinal associations between cyberbullying involvement and adolescent mental health.

Methods

Participants were 2,480 teenagers taking part in the Olympic Regeneration in East London study. We collected information from participants when they were 12–13 years old and again 1 year later to examine links between involvement in cyberbullying and future symptoms of depression and social anxiety, and mental well-being.

Results

At baseline, 14% reported being cybervictims, 8% reported being cyberbullies, and 20% reported being cyberbully-victims in the previous year. Compared to uninvolved adolescents, cybervictims and cyberbully-victims were significantly more likely to report symptoms of depression (cybervictims: odds ratio [OR] = 1.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.00, 2.06]; cyberbully-victims: OR = 1.54, 95% CI [1.13, 2.09]) and social anxiety (cybervictims: OR = 1.52, 95% CI [1.11, 2.07]; cyberbully-victims: OR = 1.44, 95% CI [1.10, 1.89]) but not below average well-being (cybervictims: relative risk ratio = 1.28, 95% CI [.86, 1.91]; cyberbully-victims: relative risk ratio = 1.38, 95% CI [.95, 1.99]) at 1 year follow-up, after adjustment for confounding factors including baseline mental health.

Conclusions

This study emphasizes the high prevalence of cyberbullying and the potential of cybervictimization as a risk factor for future depressive symptoms, social anxiety symptoms, and below average well-being among adolescents. Future research should identify protective factors and possible interventions to reduce adolescent cyberbullying.