Openet-Sponsored Study Reveals 41% of US Teenagers Experience Cyber-bullying

January 18, 2012 - Openet

­A smallish survey of US teenagers found that cyber-bullying via cell phones or online is a major issue among this age group. The survey of 503 teenagers was carried out by Harris Interactive for Openet.

Results of the survey do not just point to children who are the victims of cyber-bullying; instead, they paint a clear picture of both the victims and perpetrators of this behavior. While 41 percent of teens say they have been cyber-bullied on their cell phone or online, one-quarter (25 percent) admit they are cyber-bullies themselves.

The average teenager sends approximately 1,800 texts a month, and 23 percent of teens send more than that, putting them in the "heavy cell phone user" category. Close to half (46 percent) of heavy users experience cyber-bullying on their cell phones, a much higher rate compared to just 23 percent of lighter users. Heavy users are also more likely to admit using their cell phones during inappropriate times, like at night when they should be sleeping (94 percent vs. 70 percent of lighter users) or in school during class (74 percent vs. 41 percent).

"The proliferation of mobile access cuts both ways for teenagers," said Michael Manzo, CMO of Openet. "While this age group needs an effective way to communicate with parents and friends, mobile devices can also serve as a gateway to behavior that is damaging for both the victim and the perpetrator. While legislation against cyber-bullying, along with parental supervision, are a good start to preventing this activity, wireless carriers also bear a responsibility to help ensure that parents can monitor and control their children's mobile phone access and usage."


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