New Study: Girls are More Likely than Boys to be Victims of Cyberbullying

FlickrCC/J_O_I_D

Cyber-bullies spread rumors, post nasty photos and tease their victims on Facbook, Twitter and other social platforms. A new survey from Norton Canada suggests that girls are more likely than boys to be harmed by these virtual aggressions.

From the survey:

One quarter of parents polled (26 percent), said their child had been involved in a cyberbullying incident.  Of these, nearly three out of four (66 percent) parents said their child was the victim of the incident, 16 percent admitted that their child was the actual bully, and 18 percent said their child was a witness to a cyberbullying incident. In addition, a staggering 32 percent of parents stated they don’t completely know what their child does on the internet, but fear their child’s behaviour online could involve coming into contact with an online predator (44 percent).

Additinally, a whopping 86 percent of the 507 surveyed parents said that their daughters were victims of cyberbullies. (Fifty-five percent of parents reported that their  sons were victims of cyberbullies).

A few questions:

  • Eight-six percent of girls are victims of cyberbullies, according to the study. How many of these victims are also perpetrators of this kind of violence?
  • If it’s true that girls are more likely than boys to tell parents and teachers about cyber-bullying, then how often do instances of cyberbullying unreported and unnoticed among boys?
  • And then the obvious: Why are girls more likely to be victims of cyberbullying? A few years ago, I read Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, a book in which author Rachel Simmons describes backstabbing, manipulation and other subtle forms of bullying among young girls as a kind of socially accepted, “alternative violence.” Simmons argues that girls feel social pressure to be “nice,” and to “be friends with everyone” (at least on the surface), so they take out their anger in indirect ways. Is cyberbullying an “alternative violence?”

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