Most American teens say their online peers are mostly kind to one another. However; according to a new study "Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Networks," 88% of these teens say they have witnessed people being mean and cruel to another person on social networks. And, the study reports 15% of these teens have been the target of mean and cruel behavior on these same sites.
Social Media has become a way of life for American teens. Of the 95% of teens online, 80% of these same online teens are a on social networks. There was a time when bullying and cruel behavior amongst teens was limited to the schoolyard. However, now cyber-bullying is on the rise and unless teens bring the cruel behavior to the attention of a trusted adult, we are oblivious to this negative behavior. Although 15% of teens that have been the target of mean cruel behavior online may seem relatively small in number, it is still a cause for concern.
Overall, the majority of American teens report a positive online experience, according to the report. At least 78% say they had at least one positive outcome from their interactions on social network sites.
What Can Parents Do to Ensure Positive Experience on Social Networks?
• Talk openly with your kids about Internet safety
• Invest in a parenting safety software for home computers
• Monitor your kids Internet activity
• Model appropriate Internet behavior
• Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your child if they are being victimized online
• Set boundaries. Do not allow your children to have Internet access in the late evening hours.
We want children to get the most of out of their Internet experience. There are benefits associated with social networking. Help your child identify ways to use social networks to their advantage. Social networks and other Internet resources should not only be used for peer interaction, but also to educate and get pertinent information about education, extra-curricular activities, career and more.
Benefits of using Social Networks
• Use social networks to bring awareness to Humanitarian efforts
• Conduct research for academic pursuit such as college and high school
• Connect with educators and potential employees
• Encourage their peers
If your child is the target of cruel behavior, or you would like more information regarding cyber-bullying, visit the National Crime Prevention Council website at www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying.