Cyberbullying in Children and Youth: Implications for Health and Clinical Practice
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We review the recent literature on cyberbullying and its effects on victimised youth, identifying key points. We conclude that cyberbullying, while following many of the underlying dynamics of more traditional forms of bullying, features some unique qualities that can both magnify the damage caused and make it more difficult to detect. These features include the pervasive, never-ending nature of cyberbullying and the ability to quickly reach large audiences. The potential for anonymity and the related distance afforded by screens and devices compared to in-person interaction allow the cruelty of cyberbullying to go unchecked. Despite the perceived anonymity of cyberbullying, cyberbullying can be perpetrated by friends, who often have intimate knowledge about the victimised youth that can be devastating when made public. Given the difficulty schools face in preventing or even detecting cyberbullying, health care providers are an important ally, due to their knowledge of the youth, the sense of trust they bring to youth, and their independence from the school setting. We conclude by calling for routine screening of bullying by health care providers who deal with paediatric populations.
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