Bullying Less Likely Online, Study Says

Dennis Faas's picture

In recent years online bullying has been a hot topic, with many teens and children reporting online bullying. In some cases, severe bullying has even pushed kids to suicide, garnering much attention from mainstream media.

A new study, however, reveals that online bullying isn't as frequent as many fear. In fact, the report says it's less likely that kids will be bullied online than in real life.

The study was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project for the Family Online Safety Institute. Researchers found that about seven in every ten teenagers who use social media report their peers are good-natured online.

Only about one in five teens said people their age are unkind. The remainder, about one in ten, said only that "it depends". (Source: cnet.com)

Most Teens Report Good Experiences Online

About 15 per cent of the teens interviewed said they had been the "target of online meanness" in the last year. This is in line with many other studies, which indicate that about 12 per cent of teens have experienced face-to-face bullying.

Only nine per cent report such activity via text messaging, and only eight per cent say they have experienced bullying through email, instant messaging or social networking (such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter).

Another seven per cent say they have been the target of bullying by telephone.

The majority of teens report having good experiences through social networking. The age group most likely to report having a positive rather than negative time online were those between 14 and 17.

The study also revealed that an astounding 95 per cent of American teens aged 12 to 17 regularly go online, and 80 per cent use social networking. (Source: google.com)

Parents Also a Target for Bullying

One very interesting statistic unearthed by the Pew researchers suggests that  while not as significant as real-life bullying, online bullying affects adults, as well as children.

About 13 per cent of adults who use social media report that someone had been "mean to them" in the past twelve months. For the record, that's just two percent under the rate of teens reporting the same thing.

The Pew study is based on interviews conducted earlier this year with 799 teens between the ages of 12 and 17. Roughly the same number of parents or guardians also participated in the study.

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