Facts About Relational Aggression & Bullying
How common is cyberbullying and cyberstalking?
Megan Meir is one of the most infamous cases of the tragedies of cyberstalking. The 13 year old committed suicide after a MySpace friendship turned badly. What Megan didn’t know, is that the MySpace friendship was a hoax, set up by the girl and her family who didn’t like her.
Relational aggression (RA) isn’t limited to high-profile cases. For many young people it is an everyday reality, and it’s actually more prevalent than you may realize. According to a 2009 study, Adi Bloom took a survey of about 500 girls, ages 9 through 11 and found some startling information regarding the use of the Internet.
Of the 500 girls questioned Bloom reports that 56% were bullied in some form, with more than 25% of those being bullied actually experiencing physical aggression. Of the same pool of girls, almost 20% admitted leaving hurtful comments on an instant message because they were not face-to-face with the recipient of the message. Approximately 1/3 of the girls had fallen victim of someone assuming their identity, and 1/5 of the girls pretended to be someone else online.
RA is a serious matter. Wal et al. (2005) as cited in Herrenkohl et al. notes that “physically and/or relationally aggressive youth were at higher risk for depression, suicidal ideation, and subsequent delinquent behavior” (p. 5). This is likely the case, especially with girls since their relationships are so intimate, suggests findings from Remillard & Lamb (2005, p. 226-227).
Bloom, A. (2009) The cyberbully girls who hide behind false identity. Times Educational Supplement, 9. Retrieved from Factiva.
Herrenkohl, T., Catalano, R., Hemphill, S., & Toumbourou, J. (2009). Longitudinal examination of physical and relational aggression as precursors to later problem behaviors in adolescents. Violence and Victims, 24(1), 3-19. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Megan Meier Foundation. (2011). “Megan meier’s story.”
Remillard, A., & Lamb, S. (2005). Adolescent girls' coping with relational aggression. Sex Roles. 53(3/4), 221-229. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-5680-8
"Mean Girls: Four Ways to Respond"
For more information on relational aggression, visit these articles that I've written: What Is Relational Aggression, What Parents Should Do about Relational Aggression & Bullying and What Teachers and Schools Should Do About Relational Aggression.
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