Teenagers who spend more than two hours a day browsing through social media without monitoring or digital literacy background may be more at risk of cyberbullying, a UK-based study has found.
School children who were spending even a little over 120 minutes on social networking sites each day could encounter electronic communication of an intimidating or threatening nature, the study published in the BMC Public Health journal said.
Such children may experience social exclusion if private, inappropriate or humiliating rumours were shared about them if they mistakenly posted private information or met strangers online, the researchers said.
This was an important finding which challenges past research, said co-author Artemis Tsitsika, Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece.
Earlier, it was believed that only excessive use of a social network site profile increases the risk of becoming a victim of cyberbullying.
For their study, the researchers undertook a school-based study across Germany, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Spain.
Anonymous questionnaires about internet use, social factors and cyberbullying were completed by 12,372 students aged between 14 to 17.
The researchers found that a high percentage of school children in Romania (37.3), Greece (26.8), Germany (24.3) and Poland (21.5) have been bullied online.
A relatively lower percentage of cyberbullying was experienced in the Netherlands (15.5), Iceland (13.5) and Spain (13.3).