Study: Cyberbullying isn’t common

Cyberbullying is not very common, “has not increased over time and has not created many ‘new’ victims and bullies,” according to research at U.S. and Norwegian schools, reports Ed Week.

The study, by longtime bullying researcher Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen, Norway, found that while, on average, 18 percent of American students said they had been verbally bullied; those who said they had been cyberbullied was about 4.5 percent. About 11 percent of Norwegian students said they had been verbally bullied, compared to about 3.4 percent who said they had been bullied in some electronic format. The study was published online in May in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

To discern the frequency, students were asked specific questions and reminded that it’s not bullying when they are teased in a playful or friendly way. Electronic bullying, as defined by the survey, included bullying via email, instant messaging, in a chat room, on a website—presumably including social networks—or through a text message.

Olweus found “no systematic increase in cyberbullying,” even though more young people have cell phones and use social media sites.