WASHINGTON, DC – Step into a class
of 30 high school students and look around. Five of them have been victims of
electronic bullying in the past year.
more, 10 of those students spend three or more hours on an average school day
playing video games or using a computer for something other than school work,
according to a study to be presented Sunday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic
Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
“Electronic bullying of high school students threatens the
self-esteem, emotional well-being and social standing of youth at a very
vulnerable stage of their development,” said study author Andrew Adesman, MD, FAAP, chief
of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center
of New York. “Although teenagers generally embrace
being connected to the Web and each other 24/7, we must recognize that these
new technologies carry with them the potential to traumatize youth in new and
The researchers analyzed data from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior
Survey of 15,425 public and private high school students. The school response rate was 81
percent, and the student response rate was 87 percent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts the
survey on a nationally representative sample of high schoolers every two years
to monitor six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the
leading causes of death, disability and social problems among U.S. youths.
For the first time, the 2011 survey asked
students whether they had been a victim of electronic bullying in the past 12
months, including through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites and
texting. They also were asked how many hours they play video or computer games
or use a computer for something that is not school work.
in six high school students (16.2 percent) reported being electronically
bullied within the past 12 months.
were more than twice as likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying than
boys (22.1 percent vs. 10.8 percent).
reported being the victim of cyberbullying more than twice as frequently as
“Electronic bullying is a very real yet silent danger that may
be traumatizing children and teens without parental knowledge and has the
potential to lead to devastating consequences,” said principal
investigator Karen Ginsburg, also at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of
New York. “By identifying groups at higher risk for
electronic bullying, it is hoped that targeted awareness and prevention
strategies can be put in place.”
regarding video game and recreational computer use showed:
percent of high school students reported spending three or more hours daily
playing video games or using a computer for something other than school.
were more likely than girls to report playing for more than three hours a day
(35.3 percent vs. 26.6 percent).
“As technology continues to advance and computers become that
much more accessible, cyberbullying will continue to grow as a hurtful weapon
against kids and teens,” Dr. Adesman concluded.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Adesman before or during the
PAS meeting, call 516-232-5229
or email Adesman@lij.edu.
the abstract, “Electronic Bullying and Recreational
Video/Computer Time in U.S. High School Students,”
go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS13L1_2835.3.
For more information on cyberbullying, visit www.stopbullying.gov and www.stopcyberbullying.org.
outside funding was received for this research.
Academic Societies (PAS) are four individual pediatric organizations that
co-sponsor the PAS Annual Meeting – the American Pediatric Society, the Society
for Pediatric Research, the Academic Pediatric Association, and the American
Academy of Pediatrics. Members of these organizations are pediatricians and
other health care providers who are practicing in the research, academic and
clinical arenas. The four sponsoring organizations are leaders in the
advancement of pediatric research and child advocacy within pediatrics, and all
share a common mission of fostering the health and well-being of children
For more information, visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow news of the PAS meeting on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PedAcadSoc.