Most Bullied Teens Don't Tell Parents

It’s no secret that teenagers are, well, secretive. So it’s no surprise that most teenagers who are bullied online don’t tell their parents about it.

A new survey by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, who released the results earlier this week in support of Safer Internet Day found that while 31% of teens reported being the victim of online bullying, only 41% of these have told an adult.

One in 10 reported having bullied someone online. Other findings weren’t likely to assuage parental anxiety: 73% said they had shared personal information or potentially inappropriate content online, including photos (73%), their phone number (21%), curse words (21%), their physical location (19%), their address (12%), and sexual comments or pictures (5%).
 
Recently, a separate survey of British kids ages 8-16 found that 21% had posted negative comments, and 26% had hijacked someone else’s account to post damaging content. Plus, 43% of respondents ages 12+ had had exchanged messages with strangers.
 
As reported last month, technology may help combat bullying. Researchers with the MIT Media Lab’s Software Agents Group claim to have developed an algorithm that can detect bullying, based on linguistic patterns. The program is designed to work in conjunction with social-media sites, as a kind of preventive measure. It scans the text of posts and when it detects language that may indicate bullying, it asks the user: “Do you really want to say this?”
 
The survey findings confirmed the huge role digital media plays in teens’ lives in general. Respondents spend an average of almost six hours a day online, equaling the amount of time the spend in the classroom (there’s doubtless some overlap here) and 83% said they log on to at least one social media site every day, with Facebook and YouTube the most popular sites.

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