Most U.S. parents are unaware of teen cyberbullying

December 5, 2017

About 70% of middle school and high school students report frequently seeing bullying on social media —and more than 40 percent of children ages 12 through 17 say they have been a victim, with one in four saying it has happened more than once. However, parents remain unaware of the frequency and the effects of cyberbullying, according to poll results released on November 28 by the University of Phoenix.

Only one in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult about the fact that he or she is being persecuted. Indeed, while nearly 60% of U.S. adults believe that bullying on social media has become much more common in recent years, 79% believe that their own children have never been victimized, according to the survey results, published in The Philadelphia Tribune.

According to data from the CyberBully Hotline, 20% of children think about suicide after being cyberbullied and one in 10 attempts it. In fact, suicide is the number-three reason for the death of teens nationwide—claiming about 4,500 lives each year—behind car accidents and homicide.

Dennis Bonilla, executive dean of University of Phoenix’s College of Information Systems & Technology and School of Business, said, considering the recent findings, parents should:

  • Teach their children how to react. Tell them to save evidence and reach out for help. Retaliating or responding could cause a bigger issue. If they feel in danger, they need to know who and when to call for help. They also should speak out if someone they know is a victim of cyberbullying.
  • Protect their children’s accounts. Many social media sites allow users to block or report people. This is not being a coward and can help stop future attacks.
  • Perform a “friends-list” audit. If a peer is engaging in bullying on social media, encourage kids to remove him or her from their list of friends.

Finally, Bonilla urges parents to serve as an example. Refrain from posting negative comments on your social channels and limit your connections to only people you know. Your children are more likely to make a change if you lead as an example.

Research source: @DennisBonillaIT

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