If your teen spends a lot of time on social media, you might want to get them to cut back due to the risk of cyberbullying, new research suggests.
Researchers surveyed more than 12,000 teens in Germany, Poland and Romania and found those who used social network sites for more than two hours a day were at increased risk for cyberbullying.
“This is an important finding which challenges past research suggesting that simply having, rather than excessive use of, a social network site profile increases the risk of becoming a victim of cyberbullying,” said study co-author Dr. Artemis Tsitsika. She’s an assistant professor in pediatrics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.
The researchers also found that more teens in Romania (37.3 percent), Greece (26.8 percent), Germany (24.3 percent) and Poland (21.5 percent) were subjected to cyberbullying than those in the Netherlands (15.5 percent), Iceland (13.5 percent) and Spain (13.3 percent).
The study was published July 9 in the journal BMC Public Health.
“We found multiple factors, in addition to the time spent on social media, which may impact cyberbullying frequency and explain the differences between countries,” Tsitsika said in a journal news release.
“In Greece and Romania, higher cyberbullying may be due to a lack of digital literacy and relevant legislation, as well as sudden rise of social media use and a large technological gap between parents and the younger generation,” Tsitsika said.
She added that promotion of “internet safety strategies and teaching digital skills in education may contribute to lower rates of cyberbullying in the Netherlands.”
“In all cases, higher daily use with no monitoring and digital literacy background may lead to teenagers posting private information and meeting strangers online,” Tsitsika said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on cyberbullying.