School children bullied online face a high risk of being hit with real-world depression, according to a study released Tuesday by the US National Institutes of Health.
The "cyber bullying" findings deviated from studies of real-world bullying that indicated children who were bullies as well as being victims of the behavior were most likely to feel depressed, according to researchers.
"Notably, cyber victims reported higher depression than cyber bullies or bully-victims, which was not found in any other form of bullying," the study authors wrote in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
"Unlike traditional bullying...cyber victims may not see or identify their harasser; as such, cyber victims may be more likely to feel isolated, dehumanized or helpless at the time of the attack."
While traditional bullying involves face-to-face abuse such as taunts or physical violence, cyber bullying comes in the form of hurtful gestures in online formats such as email, text messages, chat rooms, social networks.
The study data was gleaned from US school students grades six through 10.