Cyber bulling increases the risk of suicidal thought and attempts in young victims and bullies, a latest Dutch research shows.
Researchers at the Leiden University, Netherlands, conducted a meta-analysis and identified 34 studies of 284,375 people that concentrated on the effects of bullying and suicidal thoughts. They also analyzed 9 studies of 70,102 people that focused on the relationship between bully victims and suicide attempts. The participants were aged between 9 and 21.
"This meta-analysis establishes that peer victimization is a risk factor of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts," the study authors said, reports Reuters. "Efforts should continue to identify and help victims of bullying, as well as to create bullying prevention and intervention programs that work."
The researchers found that those who were bullied were more than twice likely to have suicidal thoughts. These children also had two and a half times more chances of being involved in suicide attempts.
However, it was difficult to find bully victims, researchers stated. "Often victims choose not to share their problems," van Geel said, reports the HealthDay. He said that some children are afraid that they won't be taken seriously or make matters worse for them.
"Some victims may go unnoticed for a very long time," he added.
Still, some children -- gay or obese kids, for example -- are especially prone to becoming victims of bullying, van Geel said. "Teachers might use this knowledge to identify potential victims," he added.
The researchers said that the effects of cyber bullying are far worse as a larger number of people can easily access the internet and the data can be stored. This can make children relive the experience more often.
The research is published in JAMA Pediatrics.