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

Felmlee and co-author Robert Faris, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California-Davis, found that approximately 17.2 percent of students had been involved with cyberbullying within a week of their having been surveyed -- 5.8 percent were purely victims, 9.1 percent were solely aggressors, and 2.3 percent were both.

The paper, "Toxic Ties: Networks of Friendship, Dating, and Cyber Victimization," will be presented on Saturday, Aug. PDT in Seattle at the American Sociological Association's 111th Annual Meeting.

"In spite of societal progress regarding gender inequality, there remains a tendency to attribute lower levels of esteem and respect to females in our society, including within schools," Felmlee said.

"We were not surprised that non-heterosexuals were more likely to be victims than heterosexuals," Felmlee said.

"However, the size of the effect was alarmingly high.

"Our study calls attention to the role of cyber aggression within close relationships, and we hope that bullying prevention programs will incorporate these findings into their curricula, particularly through the development of interventions to help heal or resolve toxic, abusive relationships among teens," Felmlee said.

In addition to potential efforts in schools to stop cyberbullying, Felmlee said parents can also take steps to mitigate cyber aggression in their children's lives.

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