Online Bullying Harms Teens: Study

Teens bullied online are more likely than their peers to fall into depression, drug abuse, and Internet addiction, according to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study also found the converse to be true: adolescents who are depressed or use drugs can become targets of cyberbullying, according to a news release from Health Behavior News Service.

The key is to understand how being cyberbullied can lead adolescents to drug abuse and depression, said the lead author of the new study, Manuel Gamez-Guadix, Ph.D., of the University of Deusto in Spain, the Health Behavior News Service reported.

StopCyberbullying.org’s Parry Aftab, a child advocate and expert in cyberlaw, wrote in an email that depressed teens “may be depressed as a result of other targeting and a likely cybervictim, as such and they may be exhibiting loner/antisocial behavior, which often attracts cyberbullying.” However, Aftab said she is not sure the new study’s finding that drug users are targets of cyberbullying is accurate.

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