Young people are aware of the risks of cyber bullying but perceive others as being more at risk than themselves, claims a study. Young women are more vulnerable to this perception than young men.
"Our findings suggest that whilst young people are aware of the potential risks associated with cyber bullying, they believe that they are less likely to experience cyber bullying than their peers," said Lucy Betts from Nottingham Trent University (NTU). "This unrealistic perception of invulnerability appears to lead many to think it is something that happens to other people," she added.
The study, designed to measure how vulnerable young people felt to cyber bullying and how vulnerable they felt compared to other people, included 63 females and 46 males aged between 16 and 18 years old.
Analysis showed that students rated themselves as being at a lower risk of cyber bullying than other groups (friends, students your age, younger students and strangers). Among these other groups, younger students were identified as those at most risk of becoming a victim of cyber bullying. Girls also had a higher perception of the risks of experiencing cyber bullying than boys.
"However, given the reported high prevalence rates of cyber bullying in some studies (ranging from 7-70%) it may be necessary to implement more measures so that whilst continuing to raise young people's awareness of the risks we also ensure they fully understand that this could actually happen to them," Betts said.
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference next week in Liverpool.