One in Five Teens Report Being Bullied Online

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Nearly one of every five kids between age 12 and 17 report being “cyber bullied,” according to a recent survey that examined the connection between social networking sites and substance use.

Out of 1,037 teens polled by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 19 percent of respondents said they had someone post “mean or embarrassing things about them” on a social networking site such as Twitter or Facebook.

Girls were far more likely than boys (25 percent versus 14 percent) to report having been bullied.

The figure is significantly lower than earlier surveys of youth about online bullying. In a 2004 survey of 1,500 students, in grades four through eight, 42 percent reported having been bullied online and 35 percent reported being threatened online.

Compared to teens who are not cyber bullied, “teens who have been cyber bullied are more than twice as likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana,” according to the survey, which mostly asks about the use of drugs and alcohol by teens and their attitude about substance use.

Forty percent of respondents said they “have seen pictures on Facebook, Myspace or other social networking sites of kids getting drunk, passed out, or using drugs.” Those teens were three times likelier to drink and four times likelier to use marijuana than teens who reported not having seen such images, according to the survey results.

“The anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression and suggestive television programming that teens are exposed to on a daily basis puts them at increased risk of substance abuse,” said CASA Founder Joseph Califano in a statement released with the survey yesterday

To read the report, The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse, click here.