Our aim was to evaluate the association between Internet usage patterns of religious and secular adolescents, exposure to cyber-bullying, and psychosomatic symptoms in Israel. A cross-sectional study was carried out using questionnaires administered to 7166 students aged 11–17 (4223 secular; 2943 religious).
Cyber-bullying was more common among secular students (11.4%) than religious students (8.4%). Multiple logistic regression predicting cyber-bullying showed significant results for boys, primary school age, Internet usage, bad moods, sleeping disorders, and dizziness. A comparison across school levels and between the education sectors did not show major differences in the probability to experience bullying. However, different characteristics played the role in explaining propensity to that experience.
These findings can help to plan school-level oriented intervention programs to educate adolescents on prudent use of the Internet to combat the spread of cyber-bullying.
In sum, it is clear that the Internet plays a key role in the lives of Israeli children and adolescents. High percentages of children and adolescents from different population groups use the Internet in various ways. This usage can embody danger for all younger users. In Israel, continued development, design, and operation of intervention programs to improve prudent Internet skills and tools are a social imperative.
Cyber-bullying is less common in religious schools than in secular schools. adolescents in both sectors require intervention to assist in countering cyber-bullying. these findings can be used as the basis for planning sector-specific intervention programs both to educate on prudent use of the internet during leisure time and to combat the spread of cyber-bullying. the significance of programs that promote adolescent health is continuously growing as a resource for producing comprehensive health behavior changes. therefore, the development of intervention programs promoting educated use of the internet and exposure to cyber-bullying may reduce this phenomenon. furthermore, providing practical tools to educational teams may contribute to reduction or even elimination of this phenomenon in the education system.