Cyberbullying: What the research is telling us…


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Amanda Lenhart delivered this presentation to the Year of the Child summit at the National Association of Attorneys General Year of the Child Conference, Philadelphia, PA, this talk surveys the current research on cyberbullying and online harassment, pulling in Pew Internet data as well as the work of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, Internet Solutions for Kids and other academics and scholars researching this topic. 5/13/09

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  • Hello, my name is Amanda Lenhart, and I’m a Senior Research Specialist with the Pew Internet & American Life Project. I’m going to start off with some scene setting materials, because I think context is extremely important, particularly when we’re talking about safety and young people. I think sometimes data points in this realm get taken out of context, but in order for us to create the most effective and targeted solutions, we have to know the exact nature of the problem.
  • Cyberbullying: What the research is telling us…

    1. 1. Cyberbullying What the research is telling us… Amanda Lenhart NAAG: Year of the Child Summit May 13, 2009 Philadelphia, PA
    2. 2. Sources & Methodology <ul><li>Pew study: Interviewed 700 parent-child pairs in November 2007 and 935 parent – child pairs in Oct-Nov 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Teens ages 12-17 </li></ul><ul><li>Nationally representative sample </li></ul><ul><li>------------- </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Adolescent Health Special Issue (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>UNH Crimes Against Children Research Center data (YISS-1 & YISS-2) (Wolak, Finkelhor et al) </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Solutions for Kids (Growing up with Media)(Ybarra et al) </li></ul><ul><li>Hinduja & Patchin </li></ul>
    3. 3. Teen internet use basics <ul><li>93% of teens 12-17 go online </li></ul><ul><li>89% of online teens go online from home, and most of them go online from home most often </li></ul><ul><li>77% of teen go online at school </li></ul><ul><li>71% go online from friends or relatives house </li></ul><ul><li>60% go online from a library </li></ul><ul><li>66% of households with teens go online via broadband, 22% via dial up, and 10% do not have access at home. </li></ul><ul><li>63% of online teens go online daily </li></ul>
    4. 4. What are teens doing online? <ul><li>94% go online to do research for school assignments; 48% do so on a typical day. </li></ul><ul><li>81% go to websites about movies, TV shows, music groups, or sports stars </li></ul><ul><li>77% go online to get news </li></ul><ul><li>64% of online teens have created some kind of content online </li></ul><ul><li>57% have watched a video on a video-sharing site like YouTube or GoogleVideo </li></ul><ul><li>55% go online to get information about a college, university or other school that they are thinking about attending. </li></ul><ul><li>38% have bought something online like books, clothes or music </li></ul><ul><li>28% have looked online for health, dieting or physical fitness information </li></ul>
    5. 5. How else are teens connecting? <ul><li>71% of teens have a cell phone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No gender or race/ethnic differences in ownership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Older teens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>51% of teens with phones talk to friends daily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>38% of teens send text messages daily </li></ul></ul><ul><li>65% of teens use an online social network site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>43% of SNS users send messages through social networks daily </li></ul></ul><ul><li>77% of teens have a game console </li></ul><ul><li>55% of teens have a portable gaming device </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teens connect and interact with others online through games </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Concerns in Online Safety Sphere <ul><li>Inappropriate contact </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strangers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bullies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inappropriate content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accidental Exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliberate Exposure </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Bullying <ul><li>Olweus (1993) </li></ul><ul><li>“ A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>This definition includes three important components: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time </li></ul><ul><li>3. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.” </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relational/Verbal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Internet </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Online Harassment & Cyberbullying <ul><li>Online harassment: aggressive behavior, “harm doing,” insults, denigration, impersonation, exclusion, outing, activities associated with hacking – stealing information, breaking into accounts, damaging websites, profiles etc. (Willard, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Cyberbullying: online harassment that is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>repeated over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involves a power imbalance between a perpetrator and a victim. Power imbalance may be differences in online skills. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other complicating factor -- perpetrators are also often victims, sometimes online, sometimes elsewhere. Internet bullying can be particularly hard to disentangle. (Willard, 2006) </li></ul>
    9. 9. What makes online harassment & bullying different? <ul><li>Technology is vehicle </li></ul><ul><li>Persistence of content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Editable, alterable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Distributability of content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Breadth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dis-inhibition over computer-mediated communication </li></ul><ul><li>Invasive </li></ul>
    10. 10. Pew Internet: Online Harassment <ul><li>32% of online teens have experienced one of the following forms of online harassment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>15% of teens reported having private material (IM, txt, email) forwarded without permission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% had received threatening messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% said someone had spread a rumor about them online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6% had someone post an embarrassing picture of them online without permission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Lenhart, 2007) </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Cyberbullying <ul><li>Other research shows prevalence of cyberbullying or online harassment between 9% and 33% of youth ages 10-18. (Wolak et al, 2007, Ybarra et al, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Much of the difference is definitional and depends on how the question was asked. Specific activities often yield higher levels of response than blanket definitions. </li></ul><ul><li>Mid-teens (ages 14-17) is the age of greatest prevalence of online harassment bullying (Pew, 2007, Hinduja & Patchin, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Perpetrators of online bullying (similar to offline bullying) are generally the same age as their victim. (Wolak, 2007) </li></ul>
    12. 12. Frequency of bullying victimization among 11-16 year olds ( n =1,193) (Ybarra, 2009)
    13. 13. Online Harassment (2) <ul><li>Girls, particularly older girls, report more online harassment; 38% of all online girls reported experiencing some type of harassment (Pew, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Social network users are also more likely to report online harassment – 39% of SNS users have experience it. (Pew, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>But most teens (67%) think bullying & harassment happens more OFFLINE. (Pew, 2007) </li></ul>
    14. 14. Frequency of bullying victimization among 11-16 year olds by environment ( n =1,193) (Ybarra, 2009)
    15. 15. Online (or not) Harassment <ul><li>School is by far the most common place youth report being bullied (31%) versus elsewhere (e.g., 13% online) </li></ul><ul><li>The prevalence rate of Internet harassment appears to be stable (2006-2008) . </li></ul><ul><li>The majority (59%) of Internet harassment comes from other minors </li></ul><ul><li>Youth who report being harassed online report a myriad of concurrent psychosocial problems offline, too </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Michele Ybarra & colleagues work on the 2005 Youth Internet Safety Survey fielded by UNH CCRC & 2007-2008 Growing up with Media research funded by the CDC. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Why should we worry? <ul><li>Bullying is broadly associated with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>School violence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delinquency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suicidal ideation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bullied teens (and often bullies themselves) have higher levels of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depression and other psychological problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Substance abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delinquency / School avoidance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weapon-carrying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor parent/caregiver relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offline victimization/sexual abuse/physical abuse </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Why should we worry (2)? <ul><li>Some research suggests that significant portions of teens aren’t bothered by online harassment or bullying </li></ul><ul><li>Research suggests that 1/3 of teens (34%) are distressed by online harassment. (Wolak et al, 2007) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distressed = “Extremely or very upset or afraid” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teens who are high internet users are more likely to be distressed (Wolak, 2007) </li></ul>
    18. 18. Summary <ul><li>Somewhere between 1/10 th and 1/3 rd of teens are being bullied online </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying still happens more offline – at school – than online. </li></ul><ul><li>For the majority of teens, it isn’t distressing, but for a minority, cyberbullying is extremely serious and paired with major problems that can affect their lives, their schools and their community. </li></ul><ul><li>Venues for bullying have diversified, and with it comes increased visibility. But impulse behind behaviors hasn’t changed – just the vehicle. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Final Thoughts <ul><li>Need more high-quality, national data on this issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Coordination in the definitions of cyberbullying. </li></ul><ul><li>When thinking about solutions, important to remember that bullying crosses boundaries – it’s everywhere that children are </li></ul><ul><li>Stay tuned for more work from Growing up with Media study (Ybarra - CDC) and research on cyberbullying and suicide by Hinduja & Patchin </li></ul>
    20. 20. THANK YOU Amanda Lenhart Pew Internet & American Life Project [email_address]