Internet bullying is far more intense because it is harder to escape from the 24-hour online world.
Victims of cyber-bullying suffer more than victims of ‘traditional’ bullying, according to research.
The inability to escape from the 24-hour online world and the public nature of threats posted on the internet make being bullied electronically more intense, it was claimed.
The research also found that four out of ten women have suffered electronic harassment after dating online and 20 per cent of online stalkers use social networking sites to stalk their victims.
Addressing the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, researcher Elizabeth Carll said: ‘Increasingly, stalkers use modern technology to monitor and torment their victims, and one in four victims reports some form of cyber-stalking, such as threatening emails or instant messaging.’
Victims can feel stress, anxiety, fear and nightmares, as well as enduring eating and sleeping difficulties.
Dr Carll added: ‘It is my observation that the symptoms related to cyber-stalking and e-harassment may be more intense than in-person harassment, because the impact is more devastating due to the 24/7 nature of online communication, inability to escape to a safe place, and global access of the information.’
But Dr Carll said the strengths of the internet being exploited by bullies could be turned against them.
She said: ‘The same technologies used to harass can also be used to intervene and prevent harassment.
‘Imagine a cell phone application that can tell you if someone threatening you is nearby.
‘That could be life-saving.’
Police and social services should do more to use electronic methods to stop online harassment, she added.
The lecture came after research showed 36 per cent of students at schools in South Korea had been bullied online at least once in the previous year.
Dr YeoJu Chung, of Kyungil University, said: ‘The results revealed that cyber-bullying makes students socially anxious, lonely, frustrated, sad and helpless.
‘Lots of adolescents have trouble recovering from negative effects of cyber-bullying.
‘We can help them use emotion regulation skills to recover, rather than become bullies themselves.’
Cyber-bullying is more of a problem for British children than almost any others in the world.
A fifth of children aged six to nine reported being the victim of ‘aggressive or unpleasant’ behaviour online. This is partly because children in the UK use social networks for longer than any other country.
The proportion of 20 per cent reporting bullying they would consider ‘aggressive or unpleasant’ was far higher than in the U.S., Australia, Japan and France. It was second only to Spain, where the figure was 25 per cent.
The study by internet security firm AVG found that 25 per cent of children aged between six and nine said they used email and a staggering 64 per cent used social networking sites.
Via Daily Mail