Most Parents Don’t Know Their Kids are Being Cyberbullied, NJ Survey Shows
Cyberbullying against teenagers may be widespread but many parents don't have much of a clue, according to a new survey from the Tyler Clementi Foundation.
In the survey, which talked to 1,000 teenagers and parents in the New York City-area, including North and Central Jersey, 48 percent of teens said they've experienced cyberbullying. Eight in 10 said they at least know someone who's been a victim.
"This is a lot," said Sean Kosofsky, executive director of the foundation, designed to raise awareness of and stem the tide of bullying.
The foundation is named for the Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide after his intimate encounter with another man was recorded and streamed online by his roommate.
Fifty-seven percent of parents said they believe their children would tell them if they've been bullied, but just a third of teens claim that's true.
And unlike the bullying that occurs at school, cyberbullying appears to be happening right under parents' noses, according to the survey.
More than half of teens said they spend at least three hours a day online, mostly at home, and while 43 percent would be terrified if their parents looked at their smart phones, 47 percent of parents admit they never scan their children's devices.
Kosofsky said he's hoping parents see this latest data and "do something with it."
"Parents need to engage in a two-way conversation with their children about harassment online, and their own behavior online," he said. "It's a responsibility the parents have, as the ones paying for these devices and the services, to engage their young people more thoughtfully."
In September 2010, 18-year-old Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days after learning what his roommate had done. He was also the subject of ridicule online, according to the foundation website.
The roommate, Dharun Ravi, was convicted of 15 charges in 2012 and spent less than a month in jail. Ravi and his lawyers are currently trying to have his conviction thrown out.