‘Suicide prevention and intervention is essential within any comprehensive anti-bullying programme and should incorporate a whole-school approach to include awareness raising and training for staff and pupils.’
A number of key recommendations have been made:
· Cyberbullying involvement should be considered by policymakers who implement bullying prevention (in addition to traditional bullying) and safe Internet use programmes;
· Clinicians working with children and young people and assessing mental health issues should routinely ask about experiences of cyberbullying;
· The impact of cyberbullying should be included in the training of child and adolescent mental health professionals;
· Children and young people involved in cyberbullying should be screened for common mental disorders and self-harm;
· School, family, and community programmes that promote appropriate use of technology are important;
· Prevention of cyberbullying should be included in school anti-bullying policies, alongside broader concepts such as digital citizenship, online peer support for victims, how an electronic bystander might appropriately intervene; and more specific interventions such as how to contact mobile phone companies and Internet service providers to block, educate, or identify users;
· Suicide prevention and intervention is essential within any comprehensive anti-bullying programme and should incorporate a whole-school approach to include awareness raising and training for staff and pupils.
The study also found a strong link between being a cyber-victim and a perpetrator. This duality was found to particularly put males at higher risk of depression and suicidal behaviours.
The researchers highlighted that these vulnerabilities should be recognised at school so that cyberbullying behaviours would be seen as an opportunity to support vulnerable young people, rather than for discipline.
It was recommended that anti-bullying programmes and protocols should address the needs of both victims and perpetrators, as possible school exclusion might contribute to an individual’s sense of isolation and lead to feelings of hopelessness, often associated with suicidal behaviours in adolescents.
It was also found that students who were cyber-victimised were less likely to report and seek help than those victimised by more traditional means, thus highlighting the importance for staff in schools to encourage ‘help-seeking’ in relation to cyberbullying.