1 in 2 Australian kids bullied, study finds


Nearly one in two Australian children report being bullied, a study has found.

The Queensland University of Technology study of more than 3,000 students in grades 6 to 12 in nearly 30 schools across Australia found that 'traditional' or face-to-face bullying was twice as prevalent as cyberbullying, according to HealthCanal.com.

About 30 per cent of students reported being bullied in person, while 15 per cent said they were victims of cyber-bullying, while about 7.5 percent said they had been subject to both forms, the Australian Associated Press reported.

AAP quoted the lead researcher, Associate Professor Marilyn Campbell, as saying that students who were bullied by "traditional" methods perceived it as crueler and reported it had a bigger impact on their lives than students who had been cyberbullied.

However, cyberbullying stuck with the victims longer, Campbell said, adding that they reported significantly higher levels of social problems, anxiety levels and depression than those who were bullied face-to-face.

"We need to do something but it needs to be big and it needs to be funded if we're going to do something serious to reduce bullying," AAP quoted Campbell as saying.

"Although cyber-bullying is less common, it seems to be more impactful on a young person's mental health than face-to-face bullying."

She added: "Say you get called nasty names. You don't actually remember. It's more ephemeral. When it's actually in the written word and especially with images the kids tell us it's much more powerful and much more hurtful."

In the US, an estimated 160,000 students a day refuse to go to school each day because of bullying, according an ABC News report from 2010 which cites US Department of Education figures.  

The bullying, which affects 13 million American students a year, ranges from physical and verbal aggression to isolation resulting from being the target of rumors and cyberbullying.

A new documentary called "Bully," directed by Lee Hirsch, focuses on five young victims of bullying. However, the film has been given an R-rating, meaning anyone under 17 wishing to view it must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

According to the New York Daily News, the filmmakers and studio behind  "Bully"  claim the rating will keep away the young moviegoers who need to see it the most.

Pop singer Lady Gaga has founded the Born This Way Foundation which aims to create safe communities for young people who are being bullied or abused.

(GlobalPost reports: Born This Way Foundation launches anti-bullying, pro-kindness campaign at Harvard)

(More from GlobalPost: Tough times for Australian billionaires)

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