More than one-third of students in Greater Toronto admit to bullying others online — many of them targeting friends or other students — says a survey of more than 2,000 children from Grades 6 to 11.
The University of Toronto paper-and-pencil questionnaire asked students about their experiences of being bullied online, or of being bullies themselves. Some 68 per cent of incidents involved friends targeting friends or students at other schools, the survey found.
"I was surprised at the extent to which it was by friends, and not anonymous," as is the common perception, said Professor Faye Mishna of U of T’s faculty of social work.
About 35 per cent of the students — in Grades 6, 7, 10 and 11 — said they had cyberbullied in the past three months, doing things like calling someone a name, spreading rumours or even issuing threats.
Cyberbullying can also be done by phone — by text messaging or picture-sharing, she added.