Internet harassment sometimes chronic and scary

While most incidents of child and teen Internet harassment are isolated, non-harmful exchanges between peers, some incidents are distressing and result in aggressive offline contacts, sometimes perpetrated by adults. In the study, “Examining Characteristics and Associated Distress Related to Internet Harassment: Findings From the Second Youth Internet Safety Survey,” researchers reviewed results from The Second Youth Internet Safety Survey, conducted among 1,500 Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17.  In the survey, 9 percent of the children reported to be targets of harassment during the previous year, with 32 percent of those targets reporting repeated harassment. One in four targets reported an aggressive offline contact, with the harasser either telephoning the victim, visiting his or her home, or sending gifts. The odds of being harassed on the Internet were higher for those youth who had harassed other children online, reported borderline or clinically significant social problems, and/or were victimized in other areas of their life. Instant messaging, “blogging,” and chat room use also increased the likelihood of Internet harassment. According to the study authors, the findings support the inclusion of Internet-harassment prevention in conventional anti-bullying programs, and further efforts by Internet providers to work with consumers to report harassment.