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Inside Teaching : October 2010
News Inside Teaching | October 2010 NEWS 46 Unlike traditional forms of bullying, students who are the targets of cyberbullying at school are at greater risk for depression than are the cyberbullies who victimise them, according to researchers at the United States National Institutes of Health. ‘Cyberbully victims reported higher depression than cyberbullies or bully-victims, which was not found in any other form of bullying,’ write Jing Wang, Tonja Nansel and Ronald Iannotti in the Journal of Adolescent Health. ‘Unlike traditional bullying which usually involves a face- to-face confrontation, cyber victims may not see or identify their harasser; as such, cyber victims may be more likely to feel isolated, dehumanised or helpless at the time of the attack,’ the researchers conclude. According to an earlier study by Wang, Nansel and Iannotti published last year, the prevalence of bullying is high, with 20.8 per cent of US secondary school students reporting having been bullied physically at least once in the previous two months, 53.6 per cent having been bullied verbally, 51.4 per cent having been ostracised and 13.6 per cent having been cyberbullied. The researchers analysed data on US students collected in the 2005/2006 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study, an international study of adolescents in 43 countries. For physical violence, no differences were found in depression scores among bullies, victims, or bully-victims. For verbal and relational bullying, victims and bully-victims reported higher levels of depression than bullies. For cyberbullying, however, frequent victims reported significantly higher levels of depression than frequent bullies and marginally higher depression than frequent bully- victims. The researchers say the finding that victims of cyberbullying report higher depression scores than cyberbullies is distinct from traditional forms of bullying and merits further study. Minority rule Depression high for cyberbullied students New research suggests cyberbullied students are more likely to experience depression than the victims of face-to-face bullying, reports Steve Holden. ‘It’s going to be beautiful in its ugliness.’ So said Rob Oakeshott, one of the key independents in the Commonwealth House of Representatives who, with Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie, and the Greens’ Adam Bandt, finally backed Julia Gillard’s Labor minority government in September. Oakeshott and Windsor said their support was influenced by the likelihood of a stable Labor government that would be able to work with the Greens in the Senate, and by Labor’s $10 billion package for regional Australia that promises to address education as well as health and infrastructure, including broadband. Simon Crean in the new Cabinet portfolio of Minister for Regional Australia has promised ‘a bottom-up approach so that Canberra is not imposing top- down approaches.’ Critically, Oakeshott and Windsor have not promised to support Labor’s policies, only ‘confidence and supply,’ so the chances that the minority Labor government might impose top-down approaches were pretty slim in the first place.