Cyberbullying: More Prevalent Than Most Parents Realize

A survey found that parents greatly underestimate the extent to which their children were either perpetrators or victims of cyberbullying. Also, the younger the child, the less likely the parent was aware.

What's the Latest Development?


A team of researchers from several universities including Cornell conducted surveys with parents and their children to find out about the children's online behavior. They discovered that while nearly one-third of children admitted to being victims of cyberbullying, only 10 percent of their parents reported knowing about it. The younger the child, the more likely it was that the parents were unaware of their having been bullied online. In addition, 15 percent of children confessed to being bullies themselves, while only five percent of parents said they were aware of their bullying behavior. A paper describing the research was published in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

What's the Big Idea?

Years after the Internet became an integral part of many homes, and despite the recent media attention paid to the dangers of cyberbullying, it seems there's still a communications disconnect between parents and children when it comes to what's actually happening online. Cornell researcher and paper lead author Sahara Byrne says, "Youth believe that social media is their turf and they are somewhat correct. Parents sometimes have no idea what their kids are doing online until it's too late."

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