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Feb 29, 2012

Children hide majority of cyberbullying incidents from their parents

According to research conducted by SocialShield, only half of the parents whose children are victims of cyberbullying are made aware of the problem. The study found that less than eight percent know that their child has been bullied online. However, a study in 2010 by the Cyberbullying Research Center found that around 20 percent of children say they have been victims of this type of harassment. A Pew Research study in 2011 found that as many as 15 percent of all teenagers in the U.S. reported "online meanness" in a one-year span.

"Unfortunately, the monitoring techniques that most parents think are good enough to keep their kids safe are often not good enough," George Garrick, CEO of SocialShield, said. "There is simply too much content being created by our kids and their peers - not to mention predators - for parents to keep track of without help. We expect this situation to only intensify in 2012 as more social networks develop and more kids get involved."

While many children avoid telling their parents about bullying because they are embarrassed or fear the reaction of the bully, a good amount also fear having their computer or online privileges taken away or worry that they will be punished themselves.

It becomes harder for parents to keep an eye of their child's online activities when kids can easily access social networks and similar sites. According to SocialShield, 46 percent of students access Facebook and other sites from their cellphone or tablet, or through another channel the parent cannot monitor, and 42 percent of students have their own computer that parents do not access.

While many parents "friend" their child in order to keep an eye on their online behavior, this is not necessarily an effective way to see bullying activities. Most cyberbullying takes place in chat rooms, closed forums, text messages, email and other more private forms of communication.

Parents should talk with their children to help stop cyberbullying. By informing their children that it is okay to discuss and report bullying, they can help prevent their children and other students from being harmed.

Schools can help by implementing anti-bullying solutions such as uTip. Powered by e2Campus, The Bully Buster allows children to safely and anonymously report any bullying or other incidents to the school instantly. The alerts go directly to school personnel who can then investigate the matter discreetly, protecting the identity of children and increasing overall safety in the school.

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