Purpose: As more and more youth utilize the Internet, concern about Internet harassment and its consequences for adolescents is growing. This paper examines the potential overlap in online and school harassment, as well as the concurrence of Internet harassment and school behavior problems.
Methods: The Growing Up with Media survey is a national cross-sectional online survey of 1588 youth between the ages of 10 and 15 years old. Our main measures were Internet harassment (i.e., rude or nasty comments, spreading of rumors, threatening or aggressive comments) and school functioning (i.e., academic performance; skipping school; detentions and suspensions; and carrying a weapon to school in the last 30 days).
Results: Although some overlap existed, 64% of youth who were harassed online did not report also being bullied at school. Nonetheless, youth harassed online were significantly more likely to also report two or more detentions or suspensions, and skipping school in the previous year. Especially concerning, youth who reported being targeted by Internet harassment were eight times more likely than all other youth to concurrently report carrying a weapon to school in the past 30 days (odds ratio = 8.0, p = .002).
Conclusions: Although the data do not support the assumption that many youth who are harassed online are bullied by the same (or even different) peers at school, findings support the need for professionals working with children and adolescents, especially those working in the schools, to be aware of the possible linkages between school behavior and online harassment for some youth.