Half of Korean teenagers have been victims of online bullying, a survey suggests. Online bullying mostly occurred through messaging services like KakaoTalk.
The poll by the Korea Institute of Criminology took in 5,356 elementary students. As more and more teenagers use smartphones, bullying at school is moving from the physical to the cyber realm.
Some 46.6 percent of respondents said they had experienced cyber bullying, but what is worse is that 56 percent admitted perpetrating it. One out of two victims was a classmate.
The victims are often invited to join a chat session and are then subjected to abuse, or the perpetrators create their own chat rooms where they spread abusive comments about the victims behind their backs.
A smaller proportion of bullying happens on Facebook and other social media.
Some 4.4 percent of the victims said they had considered suicide, while 4.5 percent said they had a difficult time making friends and 5.5 percent felt belittled.
But many of the perpetrators admitted feeling no particular emotion (23.2 percent) or any sense of guilt (14.2 percent) since they were just having fun.
"Cyber bullying often leads to violence in real life," warned Lee Seung-hyun at the institute. Some 28 percent of the victims said the abuses also occurred in real life.