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“We were not surprised that non-heterosexuals were more likely to be victims than heterosexuals,” Felmlee said.

“We hope parents turn a watchful eye to their teenager’s closest associates, and pay attention to his or her online activities for signs of abuse.” ### About the American Sociological Association The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

“A common concern regarding cyberbullying is that strangers can attack someone, but here we see evidence that there are significant risks associated with close connections,” said Diane Felmlee, the lead author of the study and a professor of sociology at The Pennsylvania State University.

“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.

To obtain a copy of the paper; for assistance reaching the study’s author(s); or for more information on other ASA presentations, members of the media can contact Daniel Fowler, ASA Media Relations Manager, at (202) 527-7885 or [email protected]

Elizabeth Mc Cauley, ASA Public Information Office, wrote this press release.

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