Cyberbullying Safety Tips

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Online Safety Tips

With summer break around the corner, kids are getting ready to spend every waking moment texting their friends and sharing “for your eyes only” content on Snapchat and summer memories on Instagram. While class may not be in session, it is still important they are learning – primarily about how content they are sharing online can make them even more prone to cyberbullying and even follow them offline and create real issues in their personal lives.

McAfee recently released the results from its 2014 “2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying” survey which examines the online behavior and social networking habits of preteens and teens.

The annual study examines the online behavior and social networking habits of U.S. preteens and teens. The most significant finding from this year’s study reveals that 87% of youth have witnessed cyberbullying versus last year when 27% of youth witnessed cruel behavior online. Check out some more findings from this interesting survey as well as some tips for parents to educate their kids about online safety.

Cyberbullying: Despite significant efforts to discourage cyberbullying, and its negative effects, the number of occurrences continues to grow with 87% of youth having witnessed cyberbullying. Of those who responded they were cyberbullied, 72%responded it was due to appearance while 26% answered due to race or religion and 22% stated their sexuality was the driving factor. Of those who witnessed cyberbullying, 53% responded the victims became defensive or angry while47% said the victims deleted their social media accounts, underscoring its significant emotional impact. While the study reveals cyberbullying continues to represent a serious problem for youth, the 2014 survey found 24% of youth would not know what to do if they were harassed or bullied online.

Online Conflict Driving Offline Consequences: Unfortunately, the negative experience of cyberbullying does not only exist online. Social networks are causing a majority of U.S. adolescents to experience negative situations that ultimately lead to offline arguments. The study found50% of youth have been involved in an argument because of something posted on social media, a 51% increase from last year’s result, which found only 33% had been involved in an argument. Four percent of young adults stated the original online altercation led to a physical fight.

Not So Private Lives: In addition to oversharing feelings, youth also overshare what would be considered private information publicly, both intentionally and unintentionally. Only 61% of youth have enabled the privacy settings on their social networking profiles to protect their content, and 52% do not turn off their location or GPS services across apps, leaving their locations visible to strangers. Additionally, 14% have posted their home addresses online – a 27% increase from last year’s results.

Other Survey Highlights:

No Parent Zone: Youth want to socially network with their peers only

  • Youth use social networking sites they believe their parents are not members of or are trolling. YouTube is the most frequented site, with 97% of respondents visiting the site or app on a weekly basis. YouTube was closely followed by Instagram, with 92% of respondents visiting the site or app on a weekly basis.

Hide and Don’t Seek: Youth would change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching

  • Although 90% of youth believe their parents trust them to do what is right online, 45% would still change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching.

Finding Social Acceptance

  • While 79% of youth have never used the Internet or social media to reinvent themselves, one in three youth feel more accepted on social media than they do in real life.

Privacy Concern

  • Youth fear their privacy will be compromised (25%) and fear being hacked (24%) more than they fear being unpopular (16%) or cyberbullied (12%).

Social Regret

  • Half (49%) of youth have regretted something they have posted online.

Top 5 Tips for Parents to Help Educate Their Kids:

Connect with your kids. Casually talk to them about the risks of all online connections and make sure the communication lines are open.

Gain access. Parents should have passwords for their children’s social media accounts and passcodes to their children’s devices to have full access at any given moment.

Learn their technology. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use. You want to know more about their devices than they do.

Get social. Stay knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks. You don’t have to create an account but it is important to understand how they work and if your kids are on them.

Reputation management. Make sure your kids are aware anything they post online does not have an expiration date.

To learn more, please visit: Blog post and infographic: http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/teens-and-screens

Join the discussion on Twitter @McAfeeConsumer using #TeensNScreens

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