Only 8% of parents aware of Facebook bullying

Only 8% of parents aware of Facebook bullying

Summary: Few parents are aware of Facebook bullying because their children are increasingly accessing social networks and other websites from devices that aren't the easy-to-monitor family computer.


Two cyberbullying studies by comScore and NDP, both commissioned by social network monitoring service SocialShield, were released today. About half of parents are aware that bullying on Facebook happens, but a significantly lower fraction knows their child has been a victim.

More specifically, the research studies revealed that less than 8 percent of parents are aware of cyberbullying incidents involving their own child. Previous estimates have shown that anywhere between 15 percent of teenagers and 20 percent of children have been victimized by cyberbullying. The surveys polled more than 4,000 parents collectively.

Parents are often perplexed by why they don't know about such a large percentage of cyberbullying incidents. The main reason is 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. 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

52 percent 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. That being said, 42 percent of parents also report that their child accesses social networks on his or her own computer, while 25 percent do so from their cell phones. 8 percent of children access social networks from a tablet or handheld device, another 8 percent from a friends' computer, and 5 percent from a school computer.

Although 36 percent of parents report that they friend their child in order to track his or her social networking activity, 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 even the most diligent parent.

"Unfortunately, the monitoring techniques that most parents think are good enough to help keep their kids safe, are often not good enough," SocialShield CEO George Garrick said in a statement. "There is simply too much content being created by our kids and their peers - not to mention predators - for parents to keep track of without help. We expect this situation to only intensify in 2012 as more social networks develop and more kids get involved."

See also:

Topics: Hardware, Collaboration, Networking, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Bullying has become the new fashionable victim

    status. "You said something mean to me; you're bullying me." I got into a discussion with a whiny twenty-something the other day where she contradicted herself, so I copied back her words to her. Her response: To accuse me of bullying.

    It is impossible to get bullied on facebook. Why? It's called unfriend.
    • It's more than that

      It's anonymous bullying too through messaging, anonymous texting (you can send texts from websites without a number), anonymous emails....there are a myriad of ways to get to someone...

      My close friend lost their daughter to bullying she had no outward signs and hid it from everyone.
    • unfriendly

      not sure about the unfriend thing. You know what kids are like - if they unfriend, they lose the popularity contest.
    • Agreed

      Bullying is not new. In "the good old days," bullying was done in your face or behind your back, and parents didn't know about it for the same reasons described in this article. It was just as hurtful then as it is now.

      The situation that you describe in regards to the whining 20-something isn't the same as bullying. It's about a young person who has been raised all her life to think that her "feelings" matter more than reason. So she can't hold up her end of a discussion without an emotional response. This is just another symptom of our namby-pamby culture where a child is raised to be so thin-skinned that he or she can't take criticism without falling apart or thinking that he or she is being picked on or being disrespected. Children need to be raised to be more resilient than that, or what will they do when their boss gives them a bad review in the real world? Go postal?
      sissy sue
  • Ridiculous

    People have just become so soft. If you can't handle a kid calling you names you are not going far in life. This story is a pile of crap!
    • Hardly crap and not ridiculous by any stretch.

      This is not just "kids being kids" whatever the heck THAT is supposed to mean (not quoting you BTW but someone who's kid was talking smack about mine and did not want to tell his kid it was wrong) - if MY child was calling someone names or treating them like crap I'd ground her for a freaking month. If she ever raised her hand to another kid that was not in self defense it would get worse.

      However as blind as you are there IS a significant amount of bullying going on in schools - the easiest to deal with is the physical abuse. I'm not talking pranks but kids beating the crap out of other kids for being different in some way or spitting on them because of their race, nationality, etc. There was this one jackwagon who loved to bully people - he had his little sycophants and would abuse those he considered different: the boy with the tapped glasses, the girl with the headgear braces... he used to spit on this one boy every afternoon simply because he was oriental. He tried his crap with me and I took it until he decided it would be fun to grab me by the neck and choke me... until I did the same to him. He didn't mess with me after that - even after the bruise on his neck went away and I was out of in school detention.

      Then there is the emotional, mental, and verbal abuse which for some kids can be even worse... some kids that that seriously enough and decide that their tormentors are [i]right[/i] that they do not deserve to live and end it all - someone I knew took that way out. Over some sadistic little prick. If that little prick and I had been closer in age I'd have whipped his ass for that but since I was an adult and he was not there wasn't anything I could do.

      So don't sit there with your blinders on and tell ME that it's crap, that it's ridiculous. Open your eyes and see what is going on here.
      • "So don't sit there with your blinders on and tell ME that it's crap, that"

        It's Crap! No stop bullying me I am so worked up and freaking out now from the way you are talking to me! Just stop! Like OMG! Hahaha!
      • Bullying is not new

        The commentators in the media act as if bullying is something new. The only thing that is new about it is that the bully has new ways in which to bully. I'd like to know how many people on this board managed to go through school WITHOUT ever being bullied. However, by the time a person becomes an adult, he or she should be socialized enough to know that bullying behavior is something to be avoided. This is something that we as a society must enforce.

        Teachers and administrators need to establish a policy that states that bullying will not be tolerated, and they need to back that policy with severe punishment and discipline. This policy should be accompanied by school assemblies and lectures, conducted annually at least, where bullying is discussed in an open forum. Some parents refuse to think ill of their spoiled little darlings, so other authority figures have to step in and draw the line against these sadistic little monsters. Parents, teachers, administrators, and other adult authority figures have to keep the lines of communication open so that children feel free to confide in them if they encounter a bullying situation.

        You can't stop bullying totally, especially in a society where people are increasingly uncivil to each other. We adults can set an example by turning the clock back to a time when people holding differing political opinions could conduct a discussion without name-calling. If you want a more civil society, try being more civil yourself. You cannot expect children and young people to respect others, when all they see is adults disrespecting each other, on line, in the media, and in the halls of Congress.
        sissy sue
  • Convenience & carelessness

    To the point about kids being active on devices not available to be controlled by parents, it is because parents gave such devices to their kids in the name of convenience, never even bothering to try and think about possible associated downsides! Just reminds me of my "old mantra" - Convenience breeds carelessness, which can significantly increase risks. Kids simply are not mature enough to understand what kind of danger they may be courting - they only think about feeling good, or personal pleasure. Parents are abdicating their responsibility to help their kids understand risks & rewards, and make better decisions - because "it's just too much work, and I won't get as much time on my (whatever it is they waste time with)"... Irresponsible folks begetting more irresponsible folks - no way to break the cycle.
  • Well, could it be too much to suggest that FB is just another

    web-site that requires those that sign in to provide "credit card details" to prove their age?
    Or MV licence details
    Or Social Insurance card details
    Just a suggestion.
    I imagine that if the lawmakers could take it on board "In the Best Interests of the Child" of course, like everything that they have done in education.
  • I mean

    make membership of social networking websites a matter for "adults only". The justification for doing so is that social networking sites are a vehicle for bullying, so membership by children should be regulated, "in the best interests of the child".
    As one commentator noted "playing back a person's own words" is "bullying". I guess that whiny 20-something doesn't know how the courts work.
    If a child wants to join FB, then the parents' consent is required. If FB screams, ask them why they are not interested in protecting children? If the nearly 20s somethings complain, point out to them just how slight a disagreement constitutes bullying and how they are, in effect, wanting to have a cake and eat it too!