One in four young Canadians have been threatened or hara*sed online or had their personal information shared without their consent, a new report concludes.
Most at risk are transgender and non-binary youth, same-s*x attracted girls and those with chronic illnesses.
A Statistics Canada study, released Wednesday, draws on 2019 data from more than 13,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 on cyber-victimization – online behavior intended to cause fear, embarra*sment or harm “a*sociated with multiple indicators of poor mental health, including suicidal ideation and attempt.”
The report finds that young victims of cybervictimization are at higher risk of having poorer mental health, experiencing difficulties with depression or anxiety, and experiencing elevated symptoms of eating disorders.
And it reported that Canadians aged 15 to 17 who experienced cybervictimization were more likely to have suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide.
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Even though threatening and derogatory messages and exclusion are generally disseminated by peers outside of cla*s hours, this can still have an impact on the “real” social and academic lives of victims, according to the study.
StatCan researchers also found a link between frequent use of online media and a child’s likelihood of being a victim of cyberbullying.
The report concludes by stating that cybervictimization is a*sociated with similar mental health indicators for all adolescents.
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