New Teen Survey Reveals Cyberbullying Moving Beyond Social Media To Email, Messaging Apps, YouTube
New Teen Survey Reveals Cyberbullying Moving Beyond Social Media to Email, Messaging Apps, YouTube
Teenage bullying has been an ongoing issue, but the rise of social media has provided new avenues for it to occur, often hidden from the watchful eyes of parents and teachers.
According to a recent study by cybersecurity company McAfee, almost one in three American high school students has experienced cyberbullying. The study revealed that students have witnessed and been victims of cyberbullying on various social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube.
However, experts point out that cyberbullying is not limited to these platforms alone. Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, highlights that bullies often use text messaging, particularly group chats, to target other students. Texting appeals to bullies because parents typically do not have access to these conversations. Hertzog emphasizes that cyberbullying, like traditional bullying, often occurs away from the supervision of adults.
In addition to texting, students also employ other apps to communicate online. Ross Ellis, founder and CEO of Stomp Out Bullying, mentions that students use apps like Tumblr, Askfm, After School, WeChat, and even Tinder for chatting and, unfortunately, sometimes bullying. Ellis describes these apps as breeding grounds for bullying and expresses concerns about a new app called Sarahah, which allows users to send anonymous posts directly to others. Ellis believes that the prevalence of social media exacerbates the problem of cyberbullying as children constantly check their social media accounts, particularly girls who are often concerned about what is being said about them. She emphasizes the need for children to be aware of what is being said but also warns against responding to negative comments, as it only fuels the fire.
To address this issue, Ellis emphasizes that parents need to educate themselves about social media by reading reliable sources online, seeking community groups or classes that discuss different apps, and trying them out firsthand. Without sufficient knowledge of these platforms, parents will not be able to effectively support their children. Ellis emphasizes that addressing cyberbullying begins at home.
According to the study, nearly half of the surveyed teens reported that their parents regularly talk to them about staying safe online. Hertzog suggests that when problems arise, parents should focus on problem-solving and teaching responsibility around technology instead of taking away their children’s devices. The goal is to help children navigate any incidents of bullying online and foster positive online experiences.
The study also found that slightly over half of students feel that teachers and other educators openly discuss and attempt to prevent cyberbullying at school. However, 21 percent of students stated that adults at school discuss the issue but do not actively work to prevent it.
Gary Davis of McAfee believes that the best approach to preventing cyberbullying is to integrate expectations of responsible technology use into the school culture. As children start using phones and tablets at a young age, Davis suggests that discussions on responsible use should begin as early as kindergarten. Responsible technology use should be ingrained in the school’s values.
The study involved approximately 1,200 American students aged 14 to 18 and was conducted in June. It also addressed questions about cheating in school using technology. American students reported higher rates of cheating and bullying compared to their peers from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
Receive stories like these conveniently in your email inbox. Subscribe to Newsletter to stay updated.