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Cyber aggression towards girls may be in part an attempt to keep girls 'in their places.'" The survey results also showed that LGBTQ youth were four times as likely as their heterosexual peers to be victims of cyberbullying.

"Friends, or former friends, are particularly likely to find themselves in situations in which they are vying for the same school, club, and/or sport positions and social connections.

The survey collected data about participants' social networks, dating history, and cyberbullying experiences.

"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.

"We believe that competition for status and esteem represents one reason behind peer cyberbullying," Felmlee said.

The researchers also found that certain types of students were much more likely than others to be victimized.

For example, girls were twice as likely as boys to fall victim to cyber aggression.