A recent study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network shows that nearly three times the amount of LGBT youth respondents reported bullying and harassment online as compared to their non-LGBT peers, reports The Advocate.
Additionally, the report demonstrates that LGBT youth were twice as likely to report being harassed via text message.
Based on a national survey of 5,680 students in middle and high school, effects of bullying reported included lowered self-esteem, higher likelihood of depression, and lowered grade point averages.
However, noting that respondents reported increased peer support, access to health information, and opportunities for civic engagement, Michelle Ybarra, the president and research director of the Center for Innovative Health Research said that the Internet “does not serve to simply reinforce the negative dynamics found offline regarding bullying” but “also offers LGBT youth critical tools for coping with these negative experiences."
The study found LGBT youth nearly twice as likely to research medical information online, with transgender youth proving particularly proactive in that area.
In April, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed an anti-bullying bill into law strengthening protections for LGBT students and students with disabilities.