Stalking by kids and teenagers tends to be considerably more aggressive as compared to their adult counterparts, a new study has revealed.
According to lead author Rosemary Purcell, University of Melbourne, juvenile stalkers seldom followed their victims out of infatuation as is often believed.
The team observed that stalking amongst minors instead stemmed from bullying as an extension or a reaction to a supposed injustice including sexual rejection.
The study found that an important minority of the juvenile stalkers were female, 36 per cent, which was much higher than among adult stalkers.
And the main reasons for juvenile stalking were accorded to bullying, retaliation and rejection, with sexual motivation accounting to only 5 per cent and infatuation for 2 per cent.
"Juvenile stalking is characterised by direct, intense, overtly threatening and all too often violent forms of pursuit," the BBC quoted the authors as saying.
"The seriousness that is afforded to adult forms of stalking should similarly apply to this behaviour among juveniles, given the even greater risks of disruption to the victim's life and risks of being attacked," they added.
Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of Beatbullying, explained: "The research further proves that juvenile stalking is a very dangerous form of bullying and one that is likely to escalate to youth-on-youth violence.
"Early intervention and on the ground bullying prevention work in schools and local communities needs to be part of the solution, with young people at the heart of implementing change."
The report was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.