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“The large magnitude of the effects of close relationships on the likelihood of cyberbullying, even after controlling for many other factors, was particularly surprising.” The study found that the likelihood of cyberbullying — which the study authors also refer to as cyber aggression, defined as electronic or online behavior intended to harm another person psychologically or damage his or her reputation — was approximately seven times greater between current or former friends and dating partners than between young people who had neither been friends nor had dated.
Researchers asked 801 adults across the US the following question: 'Do you consider your partner to be your best friend or do you call somebody else your best friend?
'Among adults currently in a romantic relationship, the vast majority (83 per cent) considered their current partner to be their best friend.
The researchers also found that certain types of students were much more likely than others to be victimized.
For example, girls were twice as likely as boys to fall victim to cyber aggression.
In addition to potential efforts in schools to stop cyberbullying, Felmlee said parents can also take steps to mitigate cyber aggression in their children’s lives.