Cyberbullying and Online Teens (page 2)
One in three online teens have experienced online harassment.
Girls are more likely to be victims.
But most teens say that they are more likely to be bullied offline than online.
About one third (32%) of all teenagers who use the internet say they have been targets of a range of annoying and potentially menacing online activities - such as receiving threatening messages; having their private emails or text messages forwarded without consent; having an embarrassing picture posted without permission; or having rumors about them spread online.
Making Private Information Public Is the Most Common Form of Cyberbullying
|Have you, personally, ever experienced any fo the following things online?||Yes||No|
|Someone taking a private email, IM, or text message you sent them and forwarding it to someone else or posting is where others could see it.||15%||85%|
|Someone spreading a rumor about you online.||13%||87%|
|Someone sending you a threatening or aggressive email, IM, or text message.||13%||87%|
|Someone posting an embarrassing picture of you online without your permission.||6%||94%|
Answered "yes" to any of th four previous questions.
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Parents and Teens Survey, Oct- Nov. 2006. Based on online teens [n=886]. Margin of error for the overall sample is Â±4%.
Depending on the circumstances, these harassing or "cyberbullying" behaviors may be truly threatening, merely annoying or relatively benign. But several patterns are clear: girls are more likely than boys to be targets; and teens who share their identities and thoughts online are more likely to be targets than are those who lead less active online lives.
Of all the online harassment asked about, the greatest number of teens told us that they had had a private communication forwarded or publicly posted without their permission. One in 6 teens (15%) told us someone had forwarded or posted communication they assumed was private. About 13% of teens told us that someone had spread a rumor about them online, and another 13% said that someone had sent them a threatening or aggressive email, IM or text message. Some 6% of online teens told us that someone had posted an embarrassing picture of them without their permission.
Yet when asked where they thought bullying happened most often to teens their age, the majority of teens, 67%, said that bullying and harassment happens more offline than online. Less than one in three teens (29%) said that they thought that bullying was more likely to happen online, and three percent said they thought it happened both online and offline equally.
These results come from a nationally-representative phone survey of 935 teenagers by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
In focus groups conducted by the Project about the issue, one 16-year-old girl casually described how she and her classmates bullied a fellow student: "There's one MySpace from my school this year. There's this boy in my anatomy class who everybody hates. He's like the smart kid in class. Everybody's jealous. They all want to be smart. He always wants to work in our group and I hate it. And we started this thing, some girl in my class started this I Hate [Name] MySpace thing. So everybody in school goes on it to comment bad things about this boy."
The gender gap
Girls are more likely than boys to say that they have ever experienced cyberbullying - 38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. Older girls in particular are more likely to report being bullied than any other age and gender group, with 41% of online girls ages 15 to 17 reporting these experiences. Teens who use social network sites like MySpace and Facebook and teens who use the internet daily are also more likely to say that they have been cyberbullied. Nearly 4 in 10 social network users (39%) have been cyberbullied in someway, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks.
Older Girls Are the Group Most Likely to Report Experiencing Some Form of Cyberbullying
|Girls 15-17 (n=252)||41%*|
|Boys 15-17 (n=237)||29%|
|Girls 12-14 (n=195)||34%|
|Boys 12-14 (n=202)||22%|
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Prents and Teens Survey, Oct-Nov 2008. Based on online tens (n=888). margin of error for the overall sample is +/-4%. * indicates statistically significant difference.
Fewer communications are private anymore
The rumor mill speeds up
A bit more than one in eight or 13% of teens said that someone had spread a rumor about them online. A girl in middle school told us: "I know a lot of times online someone will say something about one person and it'll spread and then the next day in school, I know there's like one of my friends, something happened online and people started saying she said something that she never said, and the next day we came into school and no one would talk to her and everyone's ignoring her. And she had no idea what was going on. Then someone sent her the whole conversation between these two people."
Girls are more likely to report someone spreading rumors about them than boys, with 16% of girls reporting rumor-spreading compared with 9% of boys. Social network users are more likely than those who do not use social networks to report that someone had spread a rumor about them (16% vs. 8%).
Online Rumors Tend to Target Girls
|Have you, personally, ever experienced any fo the following things online?||Boys||Girls|
|Someone taking a private email, IM, or text message you sent them and forwarding it to someone else or posting is where others could see it.||13%||17%|
|Someone spreading a rumor about you online.||10%||15%|
|Someone sending you a threatening or aggressive email, IM, or text message.||9%||16%*|
|Someone posting an embarrassing picture of you online without your permission.||5%||7%|
At least one fo the forms of cyberbulling listed above.
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Parents and Teens Survey, Oct- Nov. 2006. Based on online teens [n=886]. Margin of error for the overall sample is Â±4%
Older girls receive more online threats
One in eight online teens (13%) reported that someone had sent them a threatening or aggressive email, instant message or text message. One fifteen-year-old boy in a focus group admitted, "I played a prank on someone but it wasn't serious â€¦I told them I was going to come take them from their house and kill them and throw them in the woods. It's the best prank because it's like 'oh my god, I'm calling the police' and I was like 'I'm just kidding, I was just messing with you.' She got so scared though."
Older teens, particularly 15- to 17-year-old girls, are more like to report that they have received a threatening email or message. Overall, 9% of online teens ages 12-14 say they have been threatened via email, IM or text, while 16% of online teens ages 15-17 report similar harassment.
Among older girls, 19% have received threatening or aggressive email, IMs or text messages. Social network users are more likely than those who do not use social networks to report that someone had sent them a threatening or aggressive email (16% vs. 8%).
Um, I swear that is not me
Fewer teens, some 6%, reported that someone had posted an embarrassing picture of them online without their permission. Not surprisingly, given the number of photos posted on social networking websites, users of those sites are more likely to report that someone had posted embarrassing pictures of them online without their permission -9% of social network users reported this, compared with just 2% of those who do not use social networking sites. Similarly, teens who post photos themselves are more likely to report that someone has posted an embarrassing photo of them without their permission. One 17-year-old boy explained "I'm not a big fan of MySpace. Well, I got in trouble from one of them at my schoolâ€¦ I had one and they [other friends] put a bad picture up there [on her page] and I got in a little trouble at school... Some girl just put up like pictures of us on New Year's Eve and the Dean saw it."
Reprinted with the permission of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. © 2000 - 2008 Pew Internet & American Life Project.