Hateful text messages, abusive e-mails and cyber-gossip are giving bullies new power over their victims — even in the supposed safety of their own homes, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.
And most of the victims are themselves new, with two-thirds of children who report such harassment saying they had not been bullied before in other ways.
Schools and parents must work together to find ways to stop such behavior, without robbing children and teens of valuable Internet access, the resaarchers agreed.
"Internet bullying has emerged as a new and growing form of social cruelty," Kirk Williams and Nancy Guerra of the University of California at Riverside wrote in one of a series of reports published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The reports, from researchers organized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show a 50 percent increase in the number of kids aged 10 to 17 who said they were harassed online — from 6 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in 2005.
Full report: Teens take bullying to the Internet