It’s hard to picture happy, well-adjusted or even popular kids transforming into children who bully when they log into their social media accounts, or check their e-mail.
Nonetheless, new polling data from the Protecting Canadian Families Online survey reveals that nearly half of Canadian parents are worried their child could be bullying other children online.
The online survey, which polled parents of children between ages eight and 16 who have Internet access at home, was conducted by Leger on behalf of Primus Telecommunications Canada.
“It’s deeply concerning that 52 per cent of parents are worried that their child may be cyberbullying others,” says Primus spokesman and online safety advocate Brad Fisher.
“Although cyberbullying is a relatively new phenomenon, it has very quickly become a serious concern for parents across the country.”
Well-adjusted children and teens are responsible for half of all cyberbullying acts committed across the country, according to PREVNet, a national organization focused on cyberbullying prevention.
This is partly due to the anonymity the online world affords them.
“Given the anonymous nature of the Internet, we see young people acting in ways they would never consider when face-to-face,” says Dr. Wendy Craig, scientific codirector of PREVNet. “And since cyberbullying is such a complex issue, parents and children across the country and around the world need to seek out the skills to navigate the complexities
of these online interactions.
One of our goals is to provide the tools needed to ensure that every interaction online is positive and safe.”
Children and teenagers aren’t the only targets of online bullying.
According to the survey, one in 10 parents report being cyberbullied by friends and strangers.
Twenty-eight per cent of parents said that they were bullied on social media channels by someone they didn’t know, while 14 per cent said the contact was by e-mail.
Of the parents who were cyberbullied by someone they knew, 18 per cent said it happened by e-mail, and 15 per cent said it happened by text.