Study Links Teen Hospital Visits to Cyberbullying

A new study from Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island reveals a shocking fact; almost half of teens seen in hospital emergency rooms had been victims of cyberbullying. The survey’s creator, Dr. Megan Ranney, also found that almost one quarter of the teens exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You can check out the Fox news video below for more comments from Dr. Ranney.

More detailed findings from the survey, in which study researchers questioned 353 teen patients at the hospital:Hasbro Children's Hospital

  • 47 percent of the teens reported experiencing physical peer violence
  • 47 percent reported being a victim of cyberbullying
  • 59 percent experienced exposure to violence in the community
  • 23 percent exhibited current symptoms consistent with PTSD
  • 14 percent had moderate or higher symptoms of depression
  • 11 percent reported having suicidal thoughts within the past year

According to Dr. Ranney:

“These results should serve as a reminder to parents, schools and physicians that these problems are prevalent in our community. This study also highlights that teens with a history of cyberbullying or peer violence are more likely to have PTSD, which is a very treatable disease if properly identified and addressed.”

The focus of the study appears to have been PTSD in teens, but one of our key areas of focus at ThirdParent is cyberbullying, Since, according to the study, cyberbullying appears to be a key factor causing teen PTSD, we’ like to see more attention paid to teen cyberbullying.

Teens are already exposed to lots of messaging, in school and in the media, telling them that cyberbullying is a bad thing. That message isn’t getting through. The focus here has to be the parents.

First, parents need to go to whatever lengths necessary to make sure that their child, when using personal electronics, is not a cyberbully. Cyberbullying can take many forms, and is easily hidden from parents. Frequent conversations about what your teen is doing online, with parents taking a genuine interest and understanding how teens are using the web and social media, are key. The first step in stopping cyberbullying is making sure your kids aren’t the bullies.

Second, as a parent you need to bend over backwards to understand not only whether your child is being cyberbullied, but how her online interactions make her feel. If something online doesn’t look exactly like cyberbullying, but makes her feel sad or embarrassed or ashamed, make every effort to offer the help and support that she needs.

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