Of more than 1,100 middle school and high school students surveyed in 2008, 24 percent said they had ever been "harassed" by texting. That was up from about 14 percent in a survey of the same kids the year before.
"Harassment" meant that peers had spread rumors about them, made "rude or mean comments," or threatened them.
Outright bullying, which was defined as being repeatedly picked on, was less common. In 2008, about eight percent of kids said they'd ever been bullied via text, versus just over six percent the year before.
Researchers say the findings, reported in the journal Pediatrics, suggest that attention needs to be paid to kids' text-messaging world. But they also stress that parents need not be alarmed.
The study included 1,588 10- to 15-year-olds who were surveyed online for the first time in 2006. The survey was repeated in 2007 and 2008, with about three-quarters of the original group taking part in all three.
When it came to Internet-based harassment, there was little change over time. By 2008, 39 percent of students said they'd ever been harassed online, with most saying it had happened "a few times." Less than 15 percent said they'd ever been cyber-bullied.
And even when kids were picked on, most seemed to take it in stride.
Of those who said they'd been harassed online in 2008, 20 percent reported being "very or extremely upset" by the most serious incident. That was down a bit from 25 percent in 2006. (The study did not ask about distress over text-message harassment.)