Online Bullying Really Not That Common

from the moral-panics dept

To hear some people tell it, "cyber bullying" is some huge and awful problem where "something" needs to be done. It's a classic moral panic situation, but usually seems to involve parents totally overreacting. We've pointed out in the past that kids don't view it as bullying and now some new research from the folks at Pew have pointed out that online bullying and general "meanness" really isn't all that common. Yes, it does happen. And it sucks for those who are the target of such bullying. But that's no reason to overreact and need to pass crazy legislation to wipe out the First Amendment in some quixotic effort to outlaw being mean.
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Filed Under: bullying, online


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  1. icon
    Butcherer79 (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Limitations of the referenced research

    I think saying that it's fine until someone goes too far could be construde as 'closing the stable door after the horse has bolted'. It's almost reactive to the point of negligence, where surely there are some proactive things that can be done before a case becomes extreme?
    From what I've read on this subject, most 'cyber-bullying' happens from kids to kids and as such should be easier to stop. Kids are not afforded the same rights as adults and as such can be restricted easier than adults.

    From http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html :

    "Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:

    Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
    More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.
    Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
    Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

    The Harford County Examiner reported similarly concerning cyber bullying statistics:

    Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying
    Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim
    Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement
    1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
    About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others
    Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying

    The Cyberbullying Research Center also did a series of surveys that found these cyber bullying statistics:

    Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying
    About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly
    Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying
    Girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or their victims
    Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls
    Cyber bullying affects all races
    Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide"

    Just because it's not reported to the authorities, does not mean that it's not happening.

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