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Refocus on tackling bullying rather than cyber-bullying

29 August 2012

Verbal or physical bullying in person is still far more common than other forms of bullying despite the recent focus on cyber-bullying, according to research by psychologist Dan Olweus from the University of Bergen.

According to Olweus there is “very little scientific support to show that cyber-bullying has increased over the past five to six years, and this form of bullying is actually a less frequent phenomenon."

Olweus has conducted several large-scale studies, including one involving approximately 450,000 US students aged eight to 18. It concluded that an average of 18% of students said they had been verbally bullied, while five percent said they had been cyber-bullied.

Analysis showed that 80% to 90% of cyber-bullied students were also exposed to traditional forms of bullying. Although the new electronic media may have created few new victims it will only add to the distress of students being bullied. It is important to take cyber-bullying seriously in schools to have policies and strategies in place to prevent it.

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