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Study: LGBT youth face higher rates of online bullying

Thursday, July 11, 2013

NEW YORK – LGBT youth experience nearly three times as much bullying and harassment online as non-LGBT youth, but also find greater peer support, access to health information and opportunities to be civically engaged, according to a new report released today by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

The study, “Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet,” is based on national surveys of 5,680 students in 6-12th grade, and is the first to examine in-depth the experiences of LGBT youth online.

“The Internet impacts almost all aspects of our lives, but is particularly entrenched in the lives of youth, who are the most connected people online in our society,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director.

“LGBT youth continue to face extraordinary obstacles in their day-to-day lives whether at school or online, but the Internet can be a valuable source of information and support when they have no one or nowhere else left to turn to. As social media evolve, so must our efforts to serve LGBT youth to ensure their safety, health and well-being,” she said.

“Out Online” reveals that LGBT youth were more likely than non-LGBT youth to be bullied or harassed online (42 percent vs. 15 percent) and twice as likely to say they had been bullied via text message (27 percent vs. 13 percent).

Survey respondents also reported they were as likely to report not feeling safe online (27 percent) as they were at school (30 percent) and while traveling to and from school (29 percent).

Online victimization contributed to negative self-esteem and higher depression Youth who experienced bullying and harassment both in person as well as online or via text message reported lower grade point averages, lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression than youth who were bullied only in person, only online or via text message, or not at all.

But despite experiences of bullying and harassment online, LGBT youth indicated the internet is also a space that offers safer opportunities to express who they are, find peer support and gain access to resources not necessarily available in person.

LGBT youth were more likely to have searched for health and medical information compared to non-LGBT youth (81 percent vs. 46 percent), and half (50 percent) reported having at least one close online friend, compared to only 19 percent of non-LGBT youth.

The full report is here (PDF).

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9 more reader comments:

  1. well….duh…

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 5:38pm
  2. ..they had to do a study to find that?

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 5:42pm
  3. So sorry for that

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 5:43pm
  4. be black and gay

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 7:07pm
  5. I am shocked. Shocked!

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 7:57pm
  6. Everyone gets bullied on line. It is the realm of the petty tyrant. Play some Black OPS 2 and you will find people that do not even understand the insults they throw at you.

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 8:32pm
  7. I keep quiet for the most part online… because I know there are a ton of idiots who take trolling too far. I make small threats back ( Honestly ) but I don´t mean them. >.> the online community likes to scare people to death without getting in trouble. ( common threats from others ) “I will hurt you if I see you in public” ( return comment ) ” I will hack you, report you and ban you” from something… But yea it´s sad =(

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 9:29pm
  8. What´s wrong with the ” you have just been blocked” button?

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 9:58pm
  9. Those LGBT youth online being bullied just haven´t found me as a friend yet. Lost all my LGBT friends when we graduated high school and scattered to the winds. They were the best friends I ever had, for the short time I had them =3

    Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 10:05pm