Are cyberbulllying, online harassment and and generally bad behavior on social media going to be fixtures in society forever? Over the last couple of months, writing website Stage of Life conducted a survey of 5,500 junior high, high school and college students on civility, etiquette and manners and published the report Teen Trends: Where has the Civility Gone?
The group broke out the data for U.S. teens only, and took a look at the results as they pertain to online behavior. The summary confirms some things that we were already thinking, and raises some questions about possible future trends, including one that could be very positive.
- 91% of teens say civility, etiquette and manners are either important or very important in their lives
- 20% of respondents said that they most frequently observe uncivil behavior on social media
- 92% said that social media is making us a less civil society
Many other survey results have previously confirmed that people are less polite on social media than they are in person. Anonymity is one factor. The fact that the aggressor is not at risk of being slapped across the face is another. Is it always going to be like this?
One might conclude from the data above that the extent to which people are uncivil on social media may be due for a change. If the statistics above are accurate – 9 out of ten teens both care about civility AND view social media as a significant negative influence, behavior on the margin is likely to change.
The problem could be rectified either by teens spending less time and energy on social media, or by behaving better when they’re there. I am not delusional enough to believe the former is going to happen, so let’s hope for the latter.
Have a great day.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.