On Thursday, the Pew Research Center released a report finding that a majority of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying at least once.
The survey found that 59 percent of U.S. teens had experienced offensive name-calling, spreading of false rumors, receiving unsolicited explicit images, physical threats and having pictures of them shared without their consent. Offensive name-calling was the most common type of abuse experienced, with 42 percent of respondents saying they’d been insulted online or through their cellphones.
One of the key findings in the study was how teens felt about how cyberbullying is being handled. Majority of teens said that parents are combatting the issue; however, teachers, social media companies and politicians are not tackling cyberbullying well enough.
Travis Wilson, an administrative assistant at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, North Carolina said teenagers should use the blocking and reporting features on social media platforms more often to help cut down cyberbullying.
“Students have to communicate with [administration] and teachers, so we can take the steps to help them and resolve the situation,” Wilson said. “Working together is the best way to do that.”
Although teen boys and girls are bullied at nearly the same rates online, girls are more likely to fall victim to false rumors and to receive nonconsensual explicit images. Teen girls are also more like to experience more than one type of online harassment, with 15 percent reporting that they have been the target of at least four forms of cyberbullying, while teen boys came in at 6 percent.
The study found that parents’ concerns varied by ethnicity, race and child’s gender. Black parents were less likely than whites and Hispanics to say that they worried about their teenagers being bullied, although it was not surveyed whether white and Hispanic teenagers were bullied at higher rates.
One major finding in the study is the correlation between the amount of time a teen spends online and the likelihood of them being cyberbullied. There may be no clear-cut way to put an end to cyberbullying, but having teens unplug could help.