Study Shows Teens Feel Cyberbullying Will Not Happen to Them

Learn what you can do to increase awareness of cyberbullying risks


Stories of cyberbullying and its consequences flood the Internet every day. It is a growing problem that can wreak havoc on a young person’s life. Yet, a number of teens believe that cyberbullying is something that happens to other people. They do not think it could happen to them.

In fact, according to a new study by Dr. Lucy Betts and Sondos Metwally from Nottingham Trent University, young people are aware of the risks of cyberbullying.

But they wrongly assume others are more at risk than they are. Moreover, teen boys are more likely to believe others are more at risk than them.

A Closer Look at the Study

The survey of 109 students between the ages of 16 and 18 years old was designed to measure how vulnerable young people felt to cyberbullying and how vulnerable they felt compared to other people. The study, which was funded by the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, demonstrated that students rated themselves at being at a lower risk for cyberbullying than friends, other students their age, younger students and strangers.

According to the results, teens identified younger students at the highest risk for becoming victims of cyberbullying. And although girls had a higher perception of risks of experiencing cyberbullying than boys, the general feeling was that cyberbullying was more likely to happen to someone else.

As a result, teens as a whole think cyberbullying is something that will not happen to them.

Next Steps for Schools and Parents

Given the fact that cyberbullying occurs at alarming rates, it is clear that additional measures are needed to increase awareness among teens of the risks of being cyberbullied.

Additionally, better efforts need to be made to ensure that teens fully understand that cyberbullying could happen to them and what they need to do to prevent it from happening.

To help teens understand these risks, schools need to evaluate their bullying prevention programs and be sure they are implementing elements that address cyberbullying. In addition to telling teens how to handle cyberbullying when it occurs, they also need to highlight the risks of being cyberbullied. For instance, kids need to know that posting a lot of selfies puts them at a greater risk for cyberbullying.

Likewise, parents need to be sure they are keeping the lines of communication open with their kids. They should discuss what their kids are seeing online as well as interact with them about what social media sites and apps they are using.

They also need to address particular online activities that can increase a person’s risk for being cyberbullied, including the risks of oversharing online. They also should remind kids that posting a lot of selfies increases the risk of cyberbullying.

And, they should discuss the risk of cyberbullying associated with Xbox use. Other issues to discuss include catfishing, cyberbaiting, sexting and sexual bullying, all of which are connected to cyberbullying.

Parents also should take a look at their own social media use and its impact on their teens. Additionally, they need to familiarize themselves with the apps most commonly used to sext and cyberbully others. And, they need to understand the reasons why kids cyberbully others. Gaining a full understanding of cyberbullying and its intricate details will help parents and teachers become better equipped in dealing effectively with the issue.

Continue Reading