Sticks and Stones: Online bullying is highly harmful, often invisible, and nearly always tied to schoolyard torment

Stuff 3 May 2018
Family First Comment: More issues with screentime and the unregulated and saturated use of computers in schools and home 
Principals say cyberbullying is “insidious”, “relentless” and often invisible. Does the internet encourage cruelty? Adele Redmond reports.
Mark Potter believes social media is training children to bully each other.
Online communication loosens social conventions, making it easier for children to do what they wouldn’t in person, and frustrating schools’ ability to beat cyberbullying to the punch.
“You can go online and see a video where a girl is being hit in the head by another girl and like it,” the principal of Wellington’s Berhampore School said.
“New Zealand has the highest uptake of screen time in the western world for children so essentially it’s no surprise [cyberbullying rates are high].”
It is estimated one in five Kiwi children are cyberbullied. The crossover between online and offline bullying is about 90 per cent, but research from Victoria University says students are less likely to report cyberbullying, and teachers are the last people they would report it to.
The consequences can be wide-reaching and tragic: Those bullied online are twice as likely to attempt suicide or self harm than their non-bullied peers.
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