WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Cyberbullying is a bigger problem for most teens than drug abuse, according to a new survey as reported in The Guardian.
YouGov interviewed over 4,700 13- to 18-year-olds from around the world.
Twenty percent of those who reported they were the victims of cyberbullying said it had made them consider suicide.
More than half said it was worse than face-to-face bullying.
Twenty-five percent of teens who were bullied online reported they closed down more than one social media account. Twenty percent said they had skipped school because of it.
Among those who were bullied, four in ten said they felt too ashamed or afraid to tell their parents.
“The new generation that was born digital thrives in a world of constant connectivity, but there are clear risks for young people as well as benefits – and it is striking that cyberbullying troubles many young people more than drug abuse,” said Andrew Dunnett, the director of the Vodafone Foundation, which commissioned the survey.
To counter cyberbullying, Vodaphone has released a new set of emojis that were selected by the teens in the survey. They are meant to be a wordless way for social media users to show support for friends being taunted online.
“What can be challenging is for people, particularly when they are young, can find it hard to show support for friends who are being bullied publicly online because they fear they’ll be bullied themselves, or they simply struggle to find the right words,” said Berkeley University psychologist Professor Dacher Keltner, who helped developed the emojis.
“Images can be more powerful for them to use to show support or compassion,” he added.
Most of the teens surveyed said a combination of words and emojis was the best way to express their feelings.
One in 10 found it easiest to use the images alone.
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