Cyberbullying Problems Continue to Climb

Posted on August 17, 2006

An NBC News article cites a study from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children that found the number of children solicited for sex online has fallen. Unfortunately, the study found the statistics for the most serious kinds of solicitations have not fallen. The study also found that cyberbullying continues to climb.
Back to the good news for a moment. The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported back in 1999 that 1 in 5 children aged 10 to 17 had been solicited for sex online. You've seen that statistic repeated again and again in online safety marketing campaigns. Well, things are a bit better now. A telephone survey conducted last year found that number shrunk to 1 in 7.

The good news ends there, however. The study found that the most serious kinds of solicitations -- those that involve a predator attempting to make real-world contact with a victim -- have not declined.

Also in the survey, one-third of children reported they were exposed to sexual material online, compared to 25 percent five years ago.
The study found the number of kids reporting cyberbullying is up to 9%. It was reported to be 6% five years ago. Of course, there are new types of technology for kids to bully each other on created each year. It's very easy for kids to bully other kids using seemingly anonymous email, forums, blogs or social networks. The services cyberbullies use aren't usually completely anonymous but the cyberbullies tend to think they can't be found out. It takes Internet bullies seconds to email or IM hateful messages or post mean photoshopped images to harrass other kids. Cyberbullies can also post cruel messages on someone's blog or MySpace profile. The ease of using services like blogs and social networks could be why the numbers are climbing. However, it is not a "new" problem as the article suggests. Red Tape provided a link to the Stop Cyberbullying website which explains cyberbullying and provides tips for preventing it.