Holley Ford

Large Number of Teens ‘Self Bullying' Online: Study

A new study shows a large number of teenagers are posting mean things about themselves online.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire researchers are it calling "digital self-harm."

UW-EAU Claire Professor Justin Patchin said in a first of its kind study, he and a fellow researcher found out of 5,700 middle and high school students surveyed nationally (about six-percent) admitted to participating in digital self-harm.

"Basically digital self-harm is when somebody post something hurtful online about themselves," Patchin said. "What we saw in the data are the boys were more likely to say it was a joke or it wasn't that big of a deal, where the girls were more likely to say the reason was more serious like depression or self-hate or looking to get a response from their friends kind of things."

Patchin said more research is needed, but that it's important for parents to keep open-communication and to have an open mind when talking about cyber-bullying with their children.

"Whether a child is being bullied online by a peer or if they're posting hurtful comments or threats online about themselves, there's an issue there that needs to be resolved and they really do need an adult that they can trust to guide them through that," said Patchin.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Learn what you can do to prevent bullying by clicking here.

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