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No "Digital Divide" for Cyber Bullying

 
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Posted May 26th, 2014 @ 7:19am by Michigan Radio Network

New research says that cyberbullying isn’t just a problem in middle class and affluent areas.

Teenagers in poor, high-crime neighborhoods also experience online bullying, according to the study by a Michigan State University criminologist.

Thomas J. Holt, MSU associated professor of criminal justice says the study suggests the “digital divide” - the gap between people with access to online technologies and those without - may be nonexistent, at least when it comes to cyberbullying.

He says they found neighborhood conditions that are indicative of poverty and crime are a significant predictor for bullying - not only for physical and verbal bullying, but cyberbullying as well.

Holt says that about 30 percent of American youth have experienced a bullying incident, either as victim or bully, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Victims are at greater risk for academic and mental health problems and even suicide. While still less prevalent than traditional bullying, cyberbullying is a growing problem.  

An estimated 2.2 million students in the United States were harassed or threatened online in 2011, up from about 1.5 million in 2009, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center.

For their study, Holt and colleagues analyzed the survey results of nearly 2,000 middle- and high school students.

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