WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
Nov. 27, 2007 -- Internet harassment is becoming more common, affecting
nearly one in 10 online adolescents, new research shows.
Back in 2000, a national survey showed that 6% of online youths aged 10-17
reported being harassed online.
That percentage jumped to 9% in 2005, based on a telephone survey of 1,500
adolescents who use the Internet.
Another new study estimates that 11% of online middle school students are
bullied online; nearly half of those students don't know their Internet bully's
real name, since screen names can hide a person's identity.
Online bullying and online harassment typically happens through chat rooms,
text messages, and emails, and it generally happens when teens aren't in school, the studies show.
The findings appear in a special edition of the Journal of Adolescent
In the journal, researchers provide some practical tips for
Today's kids and teens are major media users, but they need grown-up
guidance about safe media use, note the CDC's Corinne David-Ferdon, PhD, and
Marci Feldman Hertz, MS.
They predict that "with the development of new cell phones that are
small enough to fit into young children's hands and that are designed to be
visually attractive to a younger audience, more and younger children will
become competent and frequent users of this technology."
That means that research on preventing online harassment "must be rapid
and flexible enough to keep up with the evolving nature of technology,"
write David-Ferdon and Hertz.
SOURCES: Wolak, J. Journal of Adolescent Health, December 2007
Supplement: pp S51-S58. Kowalski, R. Journal of Adolescent Health,
December 2007 Supplement: pp S22-S30. David-Ferdon, C. Journal of Adolescent
Health, December 2007 Supplement: pp S1-S5. News release, CDC.
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