Pew Research Center ‘s Study: 6 Cyber Safety Concerns for Parents & Educators
Dear Parents and Educators: I am sorry to say, we got more work. Roll up your sleeves.
Pew Research Center in collaboration with American Life Project and Family Online Safety Institute completed a study of 799 youth and teens between April and July 2011.
Concern # 1 Teens Still Mostly Unkind Online
20% reported that their peers are still mostly unkind online. That means 1 in 5 teens has a tendency to be mean to their peers. Is the sky falling No. Is it is a real concern? Yes.
In essence, this means that parents and educators must continue to supervise kids further in their online activities, otherwise many will continue to be victimized with potential psychological consequences.
Concern # 2 Many Continue to Experience Meanness
88% of youth and teens using social media have experienced mean or cruel social behavior. This is a very high prevalence. It is an indication this problems runs deep.
It is a serious concern because it sends wrong message to young people- that meanness and cruelty is a norm in life. What if an entire grows up believing this?
Concern # 3 Smaller Percentage, Big Number of Victims
15% of social media using teens have been the target of online meanness. This is a seemingly low figure in percentage terms, it real numbers, it is thousands of victims.
If parents and educators turn a blind eye to this seemingly low percentage number of victims, the number of victims could escalate as technology becomes cheaper and affordable.
Concern # 4 An Ongoing Issue
19% have been bullied in the past year in some form (in-person, online, text, phone). This is a clear indication that the problem is alive and well in the heartlands, not withstanding increasing media coverage of late.
This is a concern because many school districts are undergoing budgetary constraints and may not continue to fund cyber safety programs.
Concern # 5: Witnesses are Widespread
95% of social media using teens have witnessed cruel behavior online. Most indicated that they ignored the issue.
This a concern because it leaves victims in at the mercy of bullies. Parents and educators must teach kids to speak up to give some reprieve the victims, else, we have a whole generation believing it is OK to ignore the silent cries of a neighbor whose house is on fire.
Concern # 6: Teens Gang up to be Cruel
Two-thirds of teens who have witnessed cruelty online, have seen others joining in. This is a dangerous statistic!
If parents and educators ignore, it is same as saying that the gangs should rip off defenseless citizens. What happens to the kids who do not belong to teams of small gangs? Who watches over them, if nobody speaks up for them?
While this problem persist, we must all join hands to sensitize one another with all that we learn. When you think about the social anxieties, suicides and the number of kids that skip school because of bullying, you will agree with me that we all owe it to our children to promote safety in schools. Having been on both sides of bullying, I know how difficult it is on a personal level.