AAP: Cellphone Ownership Linked to Cyberbullying in Children

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AAP: Cellphone Ownership Linked to Cyberbullying in Children
AAP: Cellphone Ownership Linked to Cyberbullying in Children

MONDAY, Sept. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Cellphone ownership is related to cyberbullying, and the relationship is stronger among younger subjects in third and fourth grade, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Sept. 16 to 19 in Chicago.

Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D., from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, and colleagues examined survey data on 4,584 students in grades three, four, and five obtained between late 2014 and 2016 to assess cyberbullying among 8- to 11-year-olds.

The researchers found that 49.6 percent of students reported owning a cellphone across all three grades; children in older grades were significantly more likely to report ownership, with 59.8, 50.6, and 39.5 percent of fifth, fourth, and third graders, respectively, owning their own cellphone. Younger children were less able to correctly define cyberbullying, but 9.5 percent of all children reported being cyberbullying victims. For children in grades three and four only, cellphone owners were significantly more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying. Only 5.8 percent of students admitted to cyberbullying their peers, but more cellphone owners admitted to cyberbullying, across all grades.

"At the very least, parents can engage in discussions and education with their child about the responsibilities inherent in owning a mobile device, and the general rules for communicating in the social sphere," Englander said in a statement.

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