Seven per cent of Mallorca students suffer cyber-bullying

ALMOST seven per cent of secondary school students in Mallorca admit to having been victims of cyber-bullying.

Between five and seven per cent are made fun of, threatened or insulted once or twice a month, and two per cent suffer this situation at least once a week according to a study about the effects of cyber-bullying amongst youths carried out by Mallorca Island Government and the Balearic Islands University Applied Pedagogy Department.

The Coordinator of the Report, Ruben Comas, said that two per cent was a high level of people to be suffering weekly harassment, especially when it is carried out via mobile phones, social networks and chat programmes, meaning that the abuse remains tangible over a longer period of time.

He explained that harassment has always existed, but that the problem with cyber-harassment is that it is registered, and “something which in the past may have been said and forgotten, now remains for days”.

“A YouTube video of your classmates making fun of you is there forever, although it may have only lasted 30 seconds” he said.

The figures show that of 29,000 secondary school students on the island, 580 are harassed every week and 1,700 once or twice per month.

Comas explained that the most common form of harassment was on social networking sites, with 0.8 per cent of students confessing they have been insulted on them at least once a week, and 1.9 per cent being the victims of lies and rumours about them on social networks. One per cent has been threatened and 1.2 per cent reports photos of them have been published or manipulated without their permission on social networks of via e-mail, on which 1.4 per cent have received insults at least once a week.

Results show that males harass their peers more than females, and that when girls are the culprits, their method tends to be insulting others, rather than threatening them, which is more common in boys.

The aim of the study is to raise awareness about this problem and involve teachers and the rest of the educational system in preventing and dealing with it.

Comas also suggests that youths be taught their rights and obligations in the digital world, as well as how to report problems they may have witnessed or suffered.

By Jennifer Leighfield

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