One in seven adolescents have been the subject of cyber-bullying in the last three months and one in 11 admit to cyber-bullying others in the same timeframe, according to data presented at a major conference in Dublin today.
Dr Stephen Minton, TCD Lecturer in Psychology of Education, told the conference that levels of cyber-bullying and cyber-aggression appear similar in both boys and girls, particularly in young teenagers, and the behaviour tends to peak in adolescents around 13 years of age.
He told the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) conference at Dublin Castle that
exclusion-type bullying is always more prevalent among females than males, and the physical forms of bullying are always more prevalent among males than females, but in terms of cyber-bullying, it is roughly even for most categories.
“Most of our data relates to 13-16 year olds. We can’t really say with great confidence whether kids grow out of it or not because we don’t have the hard numbers, but our experience of working with young people, working with teachers and with parents, would seem to be that this sort of thing seems to be a difficulty perhaps most associated with the early teenage years”, Dr Minton said.
He said it had been found that that conventional and non-cyber forms of bullying also peak at 13 years of age.
Dr Minton pointed out that certain social media sites had made substantial improvements in relation to cyber-bullying, but others continued to allow it and often gave the perpetrator relative anonymity.
He described the Government’s decision not to introduce legislation in this area earlier this year as ‘a mistake and a missed opportunity’.
He was addressing the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) conference at Dublin Castle