Many parents unaware of cyberbullying

Feb. 26, 2012 at 1:23 AM
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SAN BRUNO, Calif., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Many U.S. parents are clueless about cyberbullying when it comes to their own child, a survey indicates.

George Garrick, chief executive officer of SocialShield, a social networking monitoring service, said a Pew Research study found about 16 percent of children said they had been the victims of cyberbullying, while only 8 percent of 4,000 parents surveyed knew their own child was a target of the online abuse.

"Unfortunately, the monitoring techniques that most parents think are good enough to help keep their kids safe, are often not good enough," Garrick said in a statement. "There is simply too much content being created by our kids and their peers -- not to mention predators -- for parents to keep track of with out help. We expect this situation to only intensify in 2012 as more social networks develop and more kids get involved."

Parents might not know about bullying incidents because their children conduct social networking activities in a number of different locations, using a wide variety of devices, and across a broad range of media platforms.

Although many parents said they think their children will tell them about cyberbullying, but they don't, Garrick said, because they are usually:

-- Embarrassed about the situation.

-- They're afraid of backlash from the bully or others.

-- They fear losing access to their computer.

-- They're worried they did something wrong.

Although 36 percent of parents said they "friend" their child in order to track his or her social networking activity, 24 percent of cyberbullying incidents occurred on cellphones and 10 percent on chat applications, the research showed, Garrick said.

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