As middle and high school students spend more time online than ever before, a survey of area teenagers and parents from Harlem to Hollis Queens finds cyberbullying is a prevalent issue that touches a vast majority of area children. The poll of 1,000 parents and teens in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and northern New Jersey was conducted by AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation.
· 48% of teens have experienced cyberbullying.
· 8 in 10 know someone who has been the victim of cyberbullying. Unlike in-person bullying at school or outside the home, cyberbullying is happening right under parents’ noses.
· A majority of teens (53%) spend at least 3 hours a day online, with most of this socializing (86%) taking place at home.
“This first-hand account of what teens are experiencing online is a powerful wake up call to the pervasiveness of cyberbullying and its potential damaging effects,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President of AT&T. “The results show that awareness of cyberbullying is high, and more education is needed to help teens make better online choices. By better understanding the extent of the issue, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation hope to help teens and parents more safely navigate a connected world.”
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To help that navigation, AT&T created Digital You. It’s a comprehensive program offering tools, tips, apps, guidance and community education events for people of all ages and levels of online experience. It provides education about using the Internet for a positive and safe outcome.
“These stats speak to the staggering problem of cyberbullying,” said Jane Clementi, founder and board member of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. “It’s outrageous and simply unacceptable to allow this to continue. Aggressive behaviors in the electronic world can cause great pain and destruction to one’s spirit. We must instill in our youth the knowledge that technology is only as good as the people who use it. It can be a wonderful and useful tool or a weapon of great harm and destruction, as in the case of many young people today, including my son Tyler.”
In addition to using the poll to raise awareness, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation will work with the All American High School Film Festival to challenge student filmmakers with creating short films to address the impact of cyberbullying on teens’ lives. Students from around the country will have the opportunity to shoot, edit and produce a final cut in New York City in time for Cyberbullying Awareness Month in October. The winning film(s) will be shared with middle and high schools throughout New York later this year.
This negative behavior persists even as a vast majority of parents (78%) say they have spoken with their children about online dangers and appropriate behaviors. In fact, the poll finds there is a significant gap between what parents think they know about their children’s experiences online and their actual experiences. 57% of parents say they believe their children would tell them if they’ve been bullied but, in fact, just 33% of teens say they have done so. 43% of teens say they would be “terrified” if their parents looked at their smart phones, while nearly half of parents (47%) admit they never scan their children’s devices.
The poll also found parents can do a better job of talking with their children about online dangers. 1 in 5 parents (21%) say they have spoken to their children about them only in passing and not as part of a sit down conversation.
1 in 3 teens say they prefer to socialize online rather than in-person, even though it may not always occur within a positive community. Of teens surveyed, 41% describe the comments their peers post online as mostly mean. Experiences can differ based on gender, race and where they live.
· Teens are targeted for a variety of reasons on text and social media, most particularly for being socially awkward (52%), their clothing choices (43%) and their sexual orientation (31%).
· Girls are more likely than boys to be subject to degrading or insulting comments, 58% to 51%.
· Nearly 1 in 3 teens have peers who have been cyberbullied for their sexual orientation.
· Of those teens who said they were cyberbullied for their sexual orientation, Hispanic teens were the most likely to be bullied (42%),followed by African American teens (35%) and white teens (26%).
· African American teens are twice as likely to confront a bully (61%), compared to white teens (31%) and Hispanic teens (33%).
· Hispanic parents are the least likely to talk to their children about appropriate online behavior (66%), compared to white parents (80%)and African American parents (89%).
· Parents in the northern suburbs (87%) reported having more substantive conversations than City parents (74%).
To view the complete poll results, click here.