Naples

Bullying on rise among youth in Italy, study shows

'Thugs' stand 60% chance of becoming delinquents

Bullying on rise among youth in Italy, study shows

Naples, April 16 - Acts of bullying by kids against other kids are on the rise, according to a new study presented Tuesday in Naples, with some 30% of interviewed youths claiming to have been victims of "cyber-bullying" or some type of threat on the Internet. The findings were presented by a non-profit organization called Label together with the Second University of Naples and a regional policy institute. Label was established by the social services of the Campania Region, of which Naples is the capital, with the aim of helping school kids and personnel deal with issues of bullying by peers. The research indicates that the bullying phenomenon is fairly widespread and in recent years has taken on both homophobic and Internet slants. Some 60% of children who are bullies in their youth are likely to become delinquents, use drugs, abuse alcohol and spend time in jail as they get older, according to the study's findings. Interviews were carried our on 4,760 children, ranging from elementary to high school grades. According to Dario Bacchini, a professor of psychological development in Naples, the interviews showed how "the act of bullying is a systematic abuse of power. Bullies have support networks, they want to drive their victims into submission and almost always there are specific modes of action for boys and girls". "An act of bullying always carries psychological consequences for both victims and bullies themselves," Bacchini said. Based on the interviews, boys were the victims of bullying less often than girls (19% vs. 23%). Boys often face acts of violence, like physical abuse, while girls more often face exclusion from peer groups. As regards acts of cyber-bullying, Annamaria Palmieri, the Naples city education councilwoman, notes how it is more often found among better-off social classes.

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