Cyberbullying vs Physical Bullying’s Impact on LGBTQ Youth

By Paul Langhorst

The Examiner recently posted a great article on the impact of cyberbullying vs. physical bullying on LGBTQ youth (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning). The article by Gregory Kelly,  suggests that cyberbullying has a far harsher impact on LGBTQ youth.

Citing the statistics below, Gregory suggests that cyberbullying is far more damaging to LGBTQ youth than physical bullying, because of the wide spread nature of cyberbullying vs. physical bully.

Sobering statistics:

  • Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt (2007 , The American Association of Suicidology, Grossman, D’Augelli, “Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors”)
  • Approximately 20% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying in their lifetimes.
  • Mean or hurtful comments (13.7%) and rumors spread (12.9%) online are the most common types of cyberbullying.

Physical bullying is typically one-on-one, or by a small group upon a single individual, which keeps the stigma of the attacks within a smaller sphere. Cyberbullying, played out on the internet and trough social media, can have a far wider reach to non-involved individuals (bystanders). For example, imagine that a popular student tweets that he/she thinks “Johnny Student is gay.” The popular student may have hundreds of Twitter followers, both at Johnny’s school and at others.  Whether or not he is gay, Johnny’s life is instantly turned upside down. Such rumors spread like wildfire and Johnny is instantly cast as gay, causing him to battle emotionally internally and externally with the mantel.  In addition, what starts online can lead to physical bullying to compound the matter.

Therefore, in the battle against bullying at your school or organization, pay special attention to reports of cyberbullying against LGBTQ youth, for those students may be at a greater risk of suicide than other  students.

 

 

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