Teens Believe Teachers And Politicians Are Not Doing Enough To Address Cyberbullying, But Parents Are Doing Excellent

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

A majority of teenagers believe teachers and politicians are not doing enough to address cyberbullying, while parents are doing an excellent job, according to a study released Thursday.

Pew Research Center conducted a study between March 7 and April 10 where it found nearly 60 percent of teens, between 13- and 17-years-old, experienced some form of cyberbullying. Instances of cyberbullying included name-calling, spreading of false rumors, physical threats, having explicit images taken of them without consent, receiving unwanted explicit images and constantly getting asked about their whereabouts from non-parental figures.

Fifty-eight percent of teens said teachers were doing a fair/poor job, while 79 percent said politicians were not handling cyberbullying well. Sixty-six percent of teens also felt that social media sites were not doing enough to address online harassment, according to the study.

Parents, on the other hand, received a 59 percent approval rating from teens, according to the report.

“Teens’ views on how well each of these groups is handling this issue vary little by their own personal experiences with cyberbullying – that is, bullied teens are no more critical than their non-bullied peers,” the study said. “And teens across various demographic groups tend to have a similar assessment of how these groups are addressing online harassment.”

A majority of teens — 90 percent — found online harassment, like name-calling, a problem that affected their age group, Pew reported.

While nearly 60 percent of parents were either concerned about their child getting cyberbullied, or sending or receiving explicit pictures, nine-in-10 parents believed they were somewhat confident in teaching their children appropriate online etiquette, according to the study.

The report comes as social media sites, politicians and schools have tried to address the issue.

Instagram released a bully filter that blocks comments which attack a person’s character or appearance and threats to a person’s health. (RELATED: Twitter Allows Center For Immigration Studies To Promote Tweets About Illegal Aliens That Were Previously Rejected)

In terms of laws and policies, 44 states have criminal sanctions for cyberbullying or electronic harassment, 45 have school sanctions for cyberbullying and 17 states have laws that include disciplinary action by school officials for off-campus behavior in relation to cyberbullying, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center.

The study interviewed 743 teens and 1,058 parents of teenagers.

The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points for all teen respondents and 4.5 percentage points for all parent respondents.

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