A study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Ontario, Canada, has uncovered some surprising results about bullying among boys and girls in grades 7-12.
The 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey - Mental Health and Well-Being Report has found that bullying among students remains a problem, 29% or an estimated 288 thousand students report being the victim of a bully at school. And cyber-bullying, being tracked for the first time in this report, has found 1 in 5 students or 217 thousand kids say they were victims.
What is surprising is that bullying reported by boys has declined to about 26% while the rate for girls has increased to 31%. Girls are also twice as likely as boys to be the victim of cyber-bullying.
Dr David Wolfe, Director of CAMH's Centre for Prevention Science says, "The bullying rates surrounding girls are troubling." "Bullying can have long-term mental health consequences and can affect self esteem, and hinder the ability to form healthy relationships. The high rates in cyber-bullying are also troubling in that young people today are so technology-driven that bullying now carries over into the home, not just the school setting."
Another disturbing find from the study, is that the number of teens reporting psychological distress remains fairly steady at 34% of all students surveyed. The rates for girls has increased to 43%, up 7 points since a survey in 1999, compared to 24% of boys. Dr. Robert Mann, lead investigator on the study says, "Many of these students express feelings of unhappiness and depression, anxiety, social dysfunction, constant stress or loss of sleep." 14% of the girls surveyed admitted to considering suicide, double the rate for boys.