Teens More Concerned About Online Bullying Than Their Parents

More than 60 percent of teens surveyed by image-sharing site We Heart It said they were concerned about online bullying.

online bullying

online bullying

Parents are concerned with the safety of their children online, sometimes overly concerned. While a recent study from the Family Online Safety Institute tells us that most parents are pretty sure that their children are safe, teens themselves are concerned by what they see online, according to a report from We Heart It.

We Heart It is an image-sharing social network that has attracted 25 million users, 80 percent of whom are under 25. With a high rate of representation of generation Y and Z, We Heart It was able to gather some interesting data in their first annual “Y and Z pulse” study of users. The survey polled 1,200 mostly female users between the ages of 13 and 18.

The top concern among participants was bullying. Sixty-two percent said they were somewhat concerned, or very concerned about online bullying. Fifty-six percent of teens also reported that they sometimes saw content on social networks that they considered “disturbing.”

This disturbing content was most often bullying or mean-spirited posts, and 69 percent of participants had seen that type of content. Sixty-five percent were concerned about racist remarks and images, and 58 percent had encountered posts about self harm, suicide or depression.

Most teens chose to ignore this content — 71 percent did nothing but pass by this content when they encountered it. Forty-seven percent thought the best course of action was to unfollow the person that posted it, and only 4 percent noted that they would or had informed an authority figure about this type of content when they encountered it.

The sites where teens were most likely to encounter disturbing content were reported as Facebook, with 31 percent of respondents agreeing that they were “Very Likely” to see that content on the network. Thirty percent believed they’d encounter disturbing content on YouTube and Instagram, with Tumblr close behind with 28 percent.

It seems that the concerns of parents and the concerns of teens online don’t quite line up. Perhaps parents should spend less time worrying, and more time talking to their teens.