Cyberbullying - Professional Risk Management Services


I wanted to follow up on Martin’s blog from last week on bullying.   In today’s digital age, a new form of bullying has arisen – cyberbullying.  According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.”   Cyberbullying has some unique characteristics, including the fact that there is no downtime.  In the past, bullying typically took place during school hours; today, with the use of smart phones, cyberbullying can happen in school, after school, and on the weekends.

The effects of cyberbullying are significant.  It is estimated that 65% of 8 to 14 year olds have been involved in a cyberbullying incident ( and recent research has found that teens who are cyberbullied are three times more likely to attempt suicide than those who have not been bullied.  From an APA News Release Cyberbullying Puts Teens at Greater Risk of Suicide (May 18, 2013): “A new analysis Kristi Kindrick, MD, with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences found that teens who are cyberbullied are three times more likely to attempt suicide than those who have not been bullied. Dr. Kendrick analyzed data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011 Youth Risk Behavior survey. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death in teens behind accidents and homicide, and because of technological advances and the growing use of social media, teens now struggle with new forms of bullying and harassment beyond the schoolyard. Recent estimates show that up to 80% of American teens use social networking sites, and 1 in 6 teens report being electronically bullied. While instances of “offline,” or schoolyard, bullying are shown to be slightly more prevalent, they are also associated with a lower risk of suicide, only twice the rates of a control group.”

Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD – Vice President
As Vice President of Risk Management, Ms. Vanderpool is responsible for the development and implementation of PRMS’s risk management services for both The Psychiatrists’ Program and The Neurologists’ Program. Ms. Vanderpool has developed expertise in the areas of HIPAA and forensic practice, and has consulted, written and spoken nationally on these and other healthcare law and risk management topics. She most recently wrote a chapter concerning the risks of harm to forensic experts for Robert L. Sadoff, MD’s book Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychiatry: Minimizing Harm, (Feb. 2011/Wiley). Ms. Vanderpool received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University, and her MBA and JD from George Mason University. Prior to joining PRMS in 2000, Ms. Vanderpool practiced criminal defense law, taught business and legal courses as an adjunct faculty member at a community college and spent eight years managing a general surgical practice in Virginia.
Categories: PRMS Blog, Bullying

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