EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and just this week, the first national study on cyberbullying among tweens was published.
UW-Eau Claire professor and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center Justin Patchin teamed up with Cartoon Network as part of the channel’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign.
The study included a survey of more than 1,000 tweens, ages 9 to 12, from across the country.
Patchin said they found one in five tweens have experienced cyberbullying in some way whether they experienced it themselves, witnessed it or did the bullying.
Of the 15% of those surveyed who said they’ve experienced cyberbullying, 94% said it negatively impacted them.
However, not all who were bullied sought help.
“In some cases, they just don’t know what to do so they don’t know how to block somebody on a social networking site or don’t know how to report somebody in a game,” Patchin said. “Sometimes they’re reluctant to tell an adult about it because they’re afraid of what that adult might do, maybe they’ll take away the technology or in some way, make it worse.”
Patchin said adult brains can handle bullying better than adolescent brains, so even though parents may not understand the impact it’s having on their kids, it’s still important to take children seriously when they tell you something is troubling them.
“The perception is, especially when these behaviors are happening online, that everybody’s in on the joke,” Patchin said. “It can be terrible from the perspective of the child. If it gets to the point where a young person is coming to you to tell you that they are experiencing cyberbullying, it is a big deal because it’s a big step for them.”
Patchin said the Cyberbullying Research Center has studied online teen behavior for almost 20 years, but nothing on tweens, which he said is a critical development in their research.
Click/tap here to read the full study.