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Parents Aware of Only Half of Cyberbullying Incidents, Research Finds

February 23, 2012


SAN BRUNO, Calif., Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Consumer study findings were released today from research commissioned by SocialShield (www.socialshield.com), the leading online monitoring service for kids’ social networking activities. The research studies, conducted by comScore and NDP, revealed that less than 8% of parents are aware of cyberbullying incidents involving their own child, despite the fact that other data – including the well-known 2011 Pew Research study – shows that as many as twice that number of children claim to be the victims of cyberbullying. The surveys polled more than 4,000 parents collectively.

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“Unfortunately, the monitoring techniques that most parents think are good enough to help keep their kids safe, are often not good enough,” said George Garrick, SocialShield’s CEO. “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.”

The Pew Research Center report found that as many as 15% of teenagers have had “online meanness” directed at them over a 12-month period.[1] Similarly, a survey by the Cyberbullying Research Center, found that 20% of children claim to have been victimized by cyberbullying.[2]

Why Parents Never Know

Parents are often perplexed by why they don’t know about such a large percentage of cyberbullying incidents–because today’s kids are conducting social networking activities in a number of different locations, using a wide variety of devices, and across a broad range of media platforms. And while most parents think their kids will tell them about cyberbullying, behavior indicates they don’t for the following reasons:

  • They’re 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 52% of the parents SocialShield surveyed report that their child accesses social networks from the family computer–where the parent could theoretically watch over their child’s shoulder–42% of parents also report that their child accesses social networks on his or her own computer, while 25% do so from their cell phones. 8% of children access social networks from a tablet or handheld device, another 8% from a friends’ computer, and 5% from a school computer.

“Friending Your Kids on Facebook Not Enough”

According to the SocialShield study, although 36% of parents report that they “friend” their child in order to track his or her social networking activity, making it one of the most common monitoring techniques. But behavior shows that a large percentage of activities take place via private chat messages, groups, closed forums, personal SMS texts and other forms of communication that cannot be viewed by any parent no matter how diligent. It is no coincidence that 24% of cyberbullying incidents occurred on cell phones, and 10 percent on chat applications – according to the research.

Steve DeWarns, a San Francisco Bay Area police officer and the chief safety officer of SocialShield, said “Protecting your kids from harm – whether they’re out in the real world or on social networks–is the most important job a parent has. All parents have the best of intentions, but most don’t understand how and where their kid could fall prey to cyberbullying or other dangers. When parents sign up for SocialShield, we scan postings, comments and photos from every one of their child’s friends on every major social network in order to help keep their kids safe.”

SocialShield’s award-winning parental monitoring tool helps parents protect their kids from cyberbullying and other social networking dangers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Formspring and other social networks. The company’s patent-pending scanning and analysis technology reviews all of a child’s social networking activities including friend requests, wall posts, photos, videos, group messages, event posts, and more in order to identify illicit, inappropriate or potentially dangerous activities that parents need to be aware of. Parents can then access the data via easy-to-read, interactive reports, or choose to receive real-time alerts for incidents that need to be addressed right away.

About SocialShield

SocialShield® is the leading social networking monitoring service enabling parents to keep their kids safe on social networks. The award winning, best of breed product is comprehensive yet easy-to-use; and its patent-pending technology alerts parents of questionable activity on their child’s social networks so they can feel comfortable about who their children interact with online and what photos and conversations are being posted. SocialShield empowers parents with the information they need to parent based on their family values. For more information, visit www.socialshield.com.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/socialshield

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/socialshield

Blog: http://blog.socialshield.com

[1] “Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites,” by Amanda Lenhart, Mary Madden, Aaron Smith, Kristen Purcell, Kathryn Zickuhr and Lee Rainie. Pew Research Center, November 2011

[2] “Cyberbullying Research 2004 – 2010,” by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin. Cyberbullying Research Center, February 2010

    SocialShield Contact:             Media Contact:
    Kimberly Breslin                  Matt McAllister
    SocialShield                      Fluid PR
    (650) 873-2916                    (510) 229-9707
    kimberly.breslin@socialshield.com matt@fluidspeak.com

SOURCE SocialShield


Source: PR Newswire