Cyberbullying has been a hot topic as of late, but it may not be as bad as many believed. According to USA Today, a recent study conducted by researchers at Brunel University in London found the prevalence of how often children are bullied online is not easily determined, and the result vary dramatically.
Recent research looked closely at two unpublished national studies, one was of 1,158 young adults and the other was the responses of 3,777 teens. The survey showed only 17 percent said they had been bullied in some way online in the past year, and 83 percent they haven’t been bothered at all, according to the news source.
Psychologist Dorothy Espelage, who teaches at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, has worked with children being bullied for the past 18 years. She conducted her own research, looking into how many people were bullied online. Her study results also showed only 17 percent reporting they were bullied, the media outlet reports.
“They may be less likely to engage in perpetration in school and in perpetration online,” Espelage told the news source. “We know in criminology and sociology, the number one predictor of any involvement in at-risk behavior is parental monitoring. It seems to be showing up confirmed in the face-to-face [bullying] and seems to be important in the online context.”
Espelage also studies bullying first-hand, and found that those who are bullied at school or face-to-face are more likely to go online once they get home and start bullying others. Usually, these kids target those who were bullying them previously, according to the publication.
Even if cyberbullying does not occur as often as people once believed, there are still a few other issues parents should be aware of. Online predators and data theft are also main concerns, as teens can easily be tricked into thinking a predator is a teen as well, or they may not be fully aware of what constitutes a safe website or not.
Along with possibly installing a parental control software to a child’s computer and mobile phone, a parent should talk to their child about these issues, so they are able to tell a parent if they think something inappropriate is going on.