Bullying in schools has been a problem for years, and now it’s seeping onto students’ social networks.
A new survey from Pew suggests that 88 percent of teens have witnessed mean or cruel behavior on Twitter and Facebook.
It’s sad to think that some teens are immersed in a world of drama and ego-bashing online, but it’s looking more and more like that’s the case.
Senior researcher and lead author of the report, Amanda Lenhart, explains:
“Most of the time, these [social networks] are pleasant places to be. But there are some dark moments popping up once a while. For a subset of teens, the world of social media presents a climate of drama and mean behavior.”
The Pew study asked 799 teens aged 12 to 17 about bullying online. About 12 percent of respondents said they experienced mean or cruel behavior “frequently” online, and 29 percent said they observed it “sometimes.”
Still, 69 percent of the students said that the experienced “mostly kind” behavior from their peers on social networks, which is encouraging.
Breaking down the survey in terms of gender, researchers found that girls aged 12 and 13 had the most negative impression of others in their peer group: one third said their peers are mostly unkind on social networks, while only 9 percent of boys aged 12 and 13 said the same.
Not all respondents were participants – either the bullies or victims – of the mean behavior they witnessed, but someone was. And bullying in cyberspace can be a lot more difficult to handle for teens than even in-person bullying: it’s so intangible, being mediated through a computer screen.