Social Media is awesome. You don’t need me to tell you that. The ability to reconnect with long-lost friends, classmates, and business contacts makes social networking an invaluable tool, especially if you practice safe sharing and use common sense when posting.
However, the generation Z teens that have grown up with social networking are having a much different experience than you or I had during our high school years. Unfortunately, one of the biggest differences that teens face online is the threat of cyberbullying. In the pre-social networking days, if someone bullied you it was much easier to deal with; simply avoid places bullies frequent and ignore leering comments or taunts.
But with kids spending more and more time plugged into the internet and social media, cyberbullying has evolved from school yard shenanigans to 24/7 digital harassment. And while it’s easy enough to block an individual bully on most social networks, the tangled web of 1st and 2nd degree connections in most schools means a teen’s posts will often be seen by a much larger network than just immediate friends. And, this takes for granted teens are even aware of how widespread their information can be seen on most social networks (and data suggests most teens are in still in the dark on this one).
Given that every day more people plug in, sign up, and log on to social networks, cyberbullying will only continue to become more and more prevalent. That’s why we started our widespread Practice Safe Sharing educational campaign for high school students. The goal of this campaign is to educate teens, parents, and administrators of the potential dangers of social media, and provide actionable tips to keep kids safe online.
Here are the cold hard facts about cyberbullying. Stay educated and keep your children safe.
Frequency of Cyberbullying
- Over 95% of teenagers use social networking sites to communicate with peers.
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once.
- 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online.
- 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.
- 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than 1 in 3 have done it more than once.
- “Hyper-networking” teens (those who spend more than three hours per school day on online social networks) are 110% more likely to be a victim of cyberbullying, compared to those who don’t spend as much time on social networks.
- 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phones.
- Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyberbullying.
- Over 25% of teens have been bullied repeatedly through text messages.
- 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other forms of direct messages.
- 64% of teens bullied online report being harassed on Facebook.
- 29% of teens bullied online have been harassed on Twitter.
Cyberbullying & Demographics
- Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
- That said, boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls.
- 9 out of 10 LGBTQ teens have experienced harassment at school or on social networking sites.
- Cyberbullying affects teens of all races equally.
Effects of Cyberbullying on Students
- Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
- 1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied online.
- Cyberbullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide.
- Cyberbullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem.
- 13% of teens who use social media say they have had an experience on a social network that made them feel nervous about going to school the next day.
Unfortunately, the incidence of cyberbullying cases seems to be increasing as more and more teens gain access to mobile phones and social networks. The most effective defense a student has against cyberbullying is to carefully monitor what they post online and to avoid large public sites that can act as an extension of the schoolyard. Using a private social networking site like Sgrouples can protect student’s posts from being seen by would-be bullies and can also decrease the incidence of these unfortunate events.
To learn more about our practice safe sharing campaign and get your school involved, click here or email Janet Steiner at Janet@Sgrouples.com. Cyberbulling will never be completely eradicated from our schools, but through a combination of educating students and providing safe online havens for teens we can drastically cut down the frequency and severity of this problem.
Stay tuned – next week we’ll provide some actionable tips for protecting your kids and students no matter where they go online.
Sources & more reading on cyber bullying: