It seems as if you cannot read the paper or watch the news today and not hear of some report about kids bullying their peers. However, it seems that kids today have upped the ante and are including technology in their arsenal of ways to taunt and torment other children. From cell phones to the internet and social networking, these "cyberbullies" are able to extend their reach and implement their wrath across entire communities. Needless to say, the consequences can be significant for both the victims and the perpetrators.

In fact, a new study in the Archives of General Psychiatry has found cyberbullying can have a profound psychological and physical impact on both sides of the attack. The findings highlight the growing problem that parents and educators must face in dealing with the increasing presence of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is defined as the continued use of purposeful and aggressive tactics against victims (who often cannot defend themselves) by way of cell phones, computers, and other forms of electronic communication. The situation is compounded by the fact that electronic media is so prevalent and easily accessible.

A recent survey in this country of internet users between the ages of 10 to 17 years found that up to 12% admitted to acting aggressively to one of their peers online, while 4% reported being on the receiving end of the attack. 3% of the children surveyed claimed to have been both the aggressor and the victim.

According to the study, victims of cyberbullying were associated with family situations that did not include two biological parents. Victims also reported having emotional, social, and behavioral problems, as well as such physical manifestations as headaches, recurrent abdominal pain, sleeping problems, and anxiety. One in four victims admitted to fearing for their safety, a situation compounded by the fact that cyberbullying can occur 24 hours a day, regardless of where the victim is physically located.

On the other hand, cyberbullies were characterized as having emotional and behavioral problems, as well as difficulty getting along with other people. Cyberbullies can suffer from hyperactivity, headaches and anxiety, are were often engaged in unhealthy lifestyle choices that included smoking and drinking alcohol.

The data could translate to a greater need for authorities to get a handle on the situation, or at the very least, give it the attention that it deserves. Cyberbullying is especially insidious when compared to traditional bullying because it is difficult for the victim to escape a medium with such a huge reach that also offers the perpetrator such anonymity. Like traditional bullying, the problem is complicated by the fact that victims often do not report acts committed against them for fear of reprisal or losing face amongst their peers.

If you are a parent or an educator and notice that a child is having problems, try your best to find out what is wrong, knowing that in many cases, children do not want to admit to the problem. If you have to, speak to their friends. Adult caregivers also need to make the effort to oversee and monitor their kids' usage of the computer.

If you have questions or concerns, visit the website for Stop Bullying Now, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Stop Cyberbullying.