Cyber Bullying Trends Among Teenagers And The Efforts To Fight Them

Bullying through teasing, name calling, or spreading rumors has long been prevalent among teenagers. But the proliferation of the internet and smartphones, and the rise of social media have transformed bullying to the next level. A survey by the Pew Research Centre has found that 59% of American teens have experienced some form of online bullying.

The most common type of online harassment is name calling, where 42% of teens say they have been called offensive names online or through cell phones. 32% say false rumors have been spread about them on the internet. While 21% have had someone other than their parents constantly ask about their whereabouts, 16% have received physical threats. Those who are affected by cyberbullying should consult cyber bullying attorney to take remedial action.

While texting and online messaging are central to teenagers building and maintaining relationships, this may lead to unwanted and potentially disturbing exchanges.

One-fourth of teens say they have been sent unsolicited explicit images, while 7% say their explicit images have been shared without their consent. These are worrying trends for parents. A vast majority of teens believe online harassment is a major problem that affects people their age. A cyber bullying lawyer can definitely help their cause.

These young people think that key groups, such as teachers, politicians, and social media companies have failed to properly address the issue. On the contrary, they have a more positive assessment of how the parents are addressing the menace of cyber bullying.

Difference In Cyber-Bullying Trends Among Boys And Girls

Findings of the above survey suggest that boys and girls are equally likely to experience cyber bullying. However, the specific nature of the harassment they suffer may differ slightly.

Almost the same numbers of boys and girls have experienced at least one type of abusive online behavior. While figures for abuse like name calling and physical threat are same, more girls have experienced false rumors being spread about them. Also, receiving of explicit images is more prevalent among girls. Girls are also more likely to experience more than one form of cyber bullying with about 15% saying they have experienced at least four types of online abuse as compared to 6% of boys.

Additionally, the economic status of the families of the teens influences the type and number of abuse they suffer. 24% of those with annual family income of less than $30,000 have experienced physical threats online as compared to 10% of those with income above $75000. However, race and educational qualification of parents do not affect the teens’ experiences with these issues. Also, the more teens stay online the more likely are they to face abusive behavior. The differences also extend to specific kinds of behavior.

What Teenagers Think About The Efforts Being Made To Combat Cyber Bullying

These days, schools, tech companies, and lawmakers are looking at ways to combat cyber bullying. Some schools have implemented policies that penalize students for sending harassing messages. Social media companies have rolled out anti-bullying tools and several states have enacted laws that prohibit cyber bullying.

However, according to the Pew Research Centre survey, the teens are not too satisfied by the efforts being made to address the issue. Anti-bullying efforts of five of the six groups measured in the survey received negative reviews by the teens. Only the parents’ efforts were rated positively by the majority of the teens.

Young people have the most negative views about how politicians and lawmakers are handling the issue of cyber bullying (79%), followed by social media sites (66%), other users who witness harassment happening(64%) and teachers (58%).

Teens’ views on how well these groups are handling this issue very little by their own personal experiences of cyber bullying, that is, bullied teens are not more critical than their non-bullied peers. Teens across various demographic groups tend to have a similar assessment of how these groups are addressing the issue of online harassment.

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Parents’ Concerns About Cyber Bullying

Most parents believe they can provide their teen with the proper advice on how to make good online decisions. Ninety percent of them say they are at least somewhat confident they can provide guidance to their teens on how to engage in appropriate online behavior, including 45% who say they are very confident in their children’s ability to do so. But even as the majority of parents feel confident about educating their children about proper online conduct, notable shares among them are concerned about the types of negative experiences their teen might encounter online.

Roughly sixty percent of parents say they are somewhat worried about their teen being harassed or bullied online or sending or receiving explicit images with one fourth saying they worry a lot.

These parental concerns tend to vary by race, ethnicity and child’s gender. Whites and Hispanics worry more about their teens being cyber bullied than blacks. Hispanic parents worry more about their child exchanging explicit images than black parents. Also, parents of teenage girls are somewhat more likely to be worried about cyber bullying than those of teenage boys.

Parents of teenage children who have encountered online harassment should take the help of cyber bullying attorney to bring the perpetrators to book.

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