McAfee, part of Intel Security, today released findings from the company’s
2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying
. The annual study examines the online behavior and social networking habits of U.S. preteens and teens. The most significant finding from this year’s study reveals that
of youth have witnessed cyberbullying versus last year when
of youth witnessed cruel behavior online
This behavior was perceived to result in anger and embarrassment, leading to a broader theme about how online behavior is impacting their offline lives. The study highlights how risky online activity can follow them offline and possibly make them even more susceptible to cyberbullying.
“Parents must discuss online activity with their children to better ensure their safety and security offline,” said Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer at McAfee. “Whether a child is a victim or an instigator of cruel behavior such as cyberbullying, the negative behavior can deeply affect their identity and their reputation.”
Despite significant efforts to discourage cyberbullying, and its negative effects, the number of occurrences continues to grow with
of youth having witnessed cyberbullying. Of those who responded they were cyberbullied,
responded it was due to appearance while
answered due to race or religion and
stated their sexuality was the driving factor. Of those who witnessed cyberbullying,
responded the victims became defensive or angry while
said the victims deleted their social media accounts, underscoring its significant emotional impact. While the study reveals cyberbullying continues to represent a serious problem for youth, the 2014 survey found
of youth would not know what to do if they were harassed or bullied online.
Online Conflict Driving Offline Consequences
Unfortunately, the negative experience of cyberbullying does not only exist online. Social networks are causing a majority of U.S. adolescents to experience negative situations that ultimately lead to offline arguments. The study found
of youth have been involved in an argument because of something posted on social media, a
increase from last year’s result, which found only
had been involved in an argument.
of young adults stated the original online altercation led to a physical fight.
Not So Private Lives
In addition to oversharing feelings, youth also overshare what would be considered private information publicly, both intentionally and unintentionally. Only
of youth have enabled the privacy settings on their social networking profiles to protect their content, and
do not turn off their location or GPS services across apps, leaving their locations visible to strangers. Additionally,
have posted their home addresses online –
a 27% increase
from last year’s results.
“By uncovering our youth’s online behavior activities, parents, guardians, teachers and coaches can be more aware of cruel behavior that can potentially take place offline,” continued Dennedy. “As a result of closely monitoring online activities, hopefully we all can do our part to provide appropriate assistance and help eradicate cyberbullying.”