We’re always interested to see fresh survey results covering what is really going on with young people and how they use the internet. This month a survey by law firm Slater and Gordon and the UK’s Anti-bullying Alliance polled 2,200 parents, students and teachers and the data has some surprising highlights and raises some interesting questions. The survey was done this month so the data is very current. The highlights:
- 52% of young people accept that some level of cyberbullying as part or every day life
- 70% of youths would turn to their parents if they were cyberbullied
- 40% of parents confess to not know how to respond when their kids are cyberbullied
- 49% of parents are unable to monitor their kids’ online activity
- 51% of parents fear for their children’s safety as a result of online activity
- 69% of teachers feel that schools should do more to teach online safety and cyberbullying
- 43% of teachers admit that their school does not teach online safety or cyberbullying
- 40% of students say that cyberbullying should be part of the curriculum
Clearly cyberbullying is a real issue, but we’ve cautioned before that it is important to have a working definition of what is bullying and what isn’t. Normal peer conflict can be viewed as bullying, but many times shouldn’t.
Regarding number 2 above, perhaps you’re surprised to see that 30% of youths would not report cyberbullying to their parents if it happened. The reason in some cases might be embarrassment or fear of reprisals, but in others young users feel that parents will react in a way that limits the victim’s freedom. Let’s say that your child is being bullied on Facebook – he might fear that you’ll make him delete the account if he tells you about it. While deleting the Facebook account might be a decent solution there are other options, and parents should make sure kids know that parental support will not necessarily lead to an internet shutdown.
Looking at number 4, if you’re a parent reading this, you’re obviously interested in your kids’ online safety. There are lots of resources available online to learn about cyberbullying education and prevention, so just Google what’s on your mind.
Finally on number 8, I was surprised to see that 40% of students would welcome schools teaching internet safety issues. I assume that is because they are not getting the tools that they need at home to feel safe online. Our view is that parents need to bear the brunt of responsibility when it comes to cyberbullying. If a parent witnessed his child bullying another kid at a park, surely he would step in and do something. If the same is happening online, parents need to be involved.
Have thoughts on this? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.