2018 Cyberbullying Survey with Parents

Before we jump into the survey results, a bit of background about us. A few weeks back we decided to look deeper into the problem of cyberbullying. The statistics we found were alarming, to say the least.

Cyberbullying has been the top child health concerns in US for last two years, above child obesity, drug abuse, stress, internet safety, etc. (read more here). Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and one in four have been bullied repeatedly. Half of the victims felt lower self esteem and 20 percent of the bullied children have suicidal thoughts (Source).

1 source 2 sourcesource

To bolster our understanding we decided to survey parents in efforts to know what they think about cyberbullying and how they currently handle it. Below is what we found.

Demographics

Geography, Age and Gender

The survey was done with a statistically significant sample of parents from the US. The respondents were roughly evenly split between male and female parents and represented a wide range of age groups.

Education, Career and Marital Status

The surveyed parents were carefully chosen to span education levels: high school to post graduation and a wide income level: low to high.

A broad range of careers were represented and included retail, hospitality, healthcare, education, military services — to name a few. Some of the parents were waged employees and self-employed while others were retired, unemployed, or homemakers.

We exhaustively covered all marital statuses. To get a sense of the parents’ diverse personalities we asked about their interests — travelers, fashionistas, music fans, gamers, sports fan, socialites — in order to ensure a varied understanding.

Children’s Age

Based off our initial research we decided to restricted the survey to parents with kids 9–15 years of age, a prime age for being given online access and devices.

Of the parents surveyed, 91 percent of the parents were ready to give their children a cell phone as soon as seven years of age.

Survey results

Parents are concerned about Cyberbullying

We asked parents, On a scale of 1–5, how concerned are you about the problem of cyber bullying?

1 in 2 were severely concerned about cyberbullying

Every single parent was concerned about cyberbullying.

To add some color to their concern, 25 percent of the parents think about cyberbullying daily, with another 50 percent thinking about it at least once a week.

Parents know their kids are getting cyberbullied

48 percent of parents reported knowing a incident when their kid was cyberbullied.

While the majority (59%) of parents were alerted of the issue by their kids, almost half of parents needed to find out on their own or were alerted by outside sources.

How parents discovered cases of cyberbullying

Parents are taking action, but are not satisfied

93 percent of parents are currently taking one or more measures to monitor their kid’s online activities.

Top 3 actions taken by parents to monitor online activity

However, many expressed that their current monitoring scheme did not seem efficient or complete leaving only 30 percent of parents satisfied with their current level of monitoring.

Their top challenges

Time: Parents do not have enough time to monitor their child’s online interactions on countless applications and websites (27% ranked this as their top challenge).

Constantly changing landscape: Even if they do find the time, parents found it challenging to keep pace with their child’s advancing complex digital life (36% ranked this as their top challenge).

For parents it is “Safety before Privacy”

When it came their kid’s safety, privacy took a back seat. Only 6 percent of parents were tilted towards privacy vs 75 percent not concerned about privacy.

Safety comes before privacy for parents

96 percent of parents believe they can fully access their kid’s online interactions, either by their kids choosing or by making it a condition under which they can have online access or get a phone.

To add to that point, 85 percent of parents would trust an app to monitor all their kid’s activities online including emails, chats, social networks and mobile phone use.

Existing solutions are not working

45 percent of parents are using some form of parental control app (free and paid).

A few themes emerged that illustrated the challenges parents are experiencing with existing solutions:

  1. Kids are able to find workarounds and hacks
Children are very smart. Where there is a will there is a way

2. The solutions are not complete or exhaustive in their coverage

even though it’s paid, it doesn’t display all. kids are able to get around the restrictions

3. Solutions are inaccurate, missed some cases of cyberbullying and had false alarms

Not all are accurate. Some cause alarm over nothing and can also miss something that I would be concerned about

4. Too overwhelming, bad user experience

Too much to monitor

Conclusion

The more we researched, more it made sense to build a modern app which helps parents address the issue of cyberbullying. Long story short, we’re building one and here is the link to our follow our progress.

To Continue: You can read more about how we address the above challenges here.


Originally published at blog.trudyapp.com on January 15, 2018.