Traditional Versus Internet Bullying in Junior High School Students
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- Gofin, R. & Avitzour, M. Matern Child Health J (2012) 16: 1625. doi:10.1007/s10995-012-0989-8
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To examine the prevalence of traditional and Internet bullying and the personal, family, and school environment characteristics of perpetrators and victims. Students (12–14 years old) in 35 junior high schools were randomly selected from the Jerusalem Hebrew (secular and religious) and Arab educational system (n = 2,610). Students answered an anonymous questionnaire, addressing personal, family, and school characteristics. Traditional bullying and Internet bullying for perpetrators and victims were categorized as either occurring at least sometimes during the school year or not occurring. Twenty-eight percent and 8.9 % of students were perpetrators of traditional and Internet bullying, respectively. The respective proportions of victims were 44.9 and 14.4 %. Traditional bullies presented higher Odds Ratios (ORs) for boys, for students with poor social skills (those who had difficulty in making friends, were influenced by peers in their behavior, or were bored), and for those who had poor communication with their parents. Boys and girls were equally likely to be Internet bullies and to use the Internet for communication and making friends. The OR for Internet bullying victims to be Internet bullying perpetrators was 3.70 (95 % confidence interval 2.47–5.55). Victims of traditional bullying felt helpless, and victims of traditional and Internet bullying find school to be a frightening place. There was a higher OR of Internet victimization with reports of loneliness. Traditional bully perpetrators present distinctive characteristics, while Internet perpetrators do not. Victims of traditional and Internet bullying feel fear in school. Tailored interventions are needed to address both types of bullying.