-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of the
parents of teen-agers say they're worried about cyberbullying, a
new survey finds.
Cyberbullying, which usually means one teen or group of teens
taunting or spreading rumors about a peer online, has risen along
with accessibility of the internet and the popularity of online
social media such as Facebook.
In a survey of more than 1,000 parents of teenagers aged 13 to
17 by the American Osteopathic Association found that 85 percent of
those polled reported that their children had social media
accounts. About 52 of parents said cyberbullying was a concern.
One expert said these concerns are valid.
"While bullying through physical intimidation has long been a problem among teenagers, cyberbullying by using computers and smart phones to send rumors or post cruel messages has become more prevalent in recent years," explains Dr. Jennifer Caudle, an osteopathic family physician in Little Rock, Ark. and bullying expert, in a news release. "Even though there might not be physical injuries, cyberbullying leaves deep emotional scars on the victim."
The survey also revealed that one in six parents knew their
child had been the victim of a cyberbully. Some of the kids teased
or harassed online were as young as 9 years old. In most cases, the
cyberbullying was not a one time occurrence, but rather happened
Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, loss of interest
in socializing, aggression toward others the victim can bully, poor
academic performance, and suicidal thoughts, Caudle said.
Some victims of cyberbullying have even killed themselves,
according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, an organization run
by professors from Florida Atlantic University and the University
of Wisconsin who have studied the issue since 2002.
The vast majority of parents -- 91 percent -- believe they, not
teachers, are ultimately responsible for preventing these long term
effects. More than 75 percent of parents said they have discussed
cyberbullying with their children, while 86 percent said they
joined their child's online social network so they can monitor
their teens' interactions. Two out of three parents also said they
monitor the security settings on their children's social media
The survey also found that one in seven parents have barred
their children from using online social media, but keeping teens
off these networking sites may prove more difficult. Although just
about all teens, or 97 percent, access their accounts from a home
computer, many also log on using smart phone or mobile devices.
Girls are the worst offenders, the survey showed. About
two-thirds of cyberbullying occurred among girls, making it twice
as common among girls than boys. This fact may not be lost on
parents. More than 75 percent reported they felt this type of
aggressive behavior was a greater concern for girls.
The National Crime Prevention Council provides more information
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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