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CONTRIBUTION · 29th October 2012
Insights West Poll
23% of Parents with Teens say their Teen Has Been Cyber-Bullied (As Have 8% of Adults)

According to a recent Insights West-6S Marketing study on social media behaviors and attitudes of 504 online BC adults, 48% are ''very concerned" about cyber-bullying in society overall, and a further 41% are "somewhat concerned." Of the 18% of adults in BC with teens in the home, an alarming 23% of parents say their teens have been victims of cyber-bullying.

"The issue of cyber-bullying has risen to the top of the public agenda in the eyes of BC residents— and for the first time ever, we have a read on its prevalence in society — the results show that it is a significant concern in this province," said Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. "The number of teens who have been cyber-bullied has reached a frightening level. It should serve as a collective wake-up call for parents and teens alike, to step up action to counter this problem."

Cyber-bullying is not a problem exclusive to the teen world, however, as 8% of adults themselves claim to have experienced it— and incidence increases to 12% among those whom we have classified as "heavy" social media users (those who use Facebook or Twitter at least once a day). Those in the 18-34 year old category are also substantially more likely to report being cyber-bullied (15%) than those in other age groups (7% for 35-54 year olds, and 4% among 55+).

"Cyber-bullying has been around in chat rooms for a long time. But with the mainstream adoption of social media, it's not just an underground thing anymore," said Chris Breikss, President and Co-Founder of 6S Marketing. "Considering the speed of social media and its availability—through smartphones, tablets—harassment has become inescapable. It turns into a round-the-clock nightmare. The internet's immediacy gives bullies a perception of power, and the sheer volume of these unmoderated interactions can have devastating consequences. We need to develop new coping tactics to deal with this issue—whether it be educating parents on controlling their kids' online activities, or educating individuals on the potential dangers of online social activity."

Although the incidence of cyber-bullying has hit alarming numbers of 23%, it still pales in comparison to the fact that the majority (58%) of parents say their teens have been victims of "traditional" bullying.

Results of the poll show that BC residents believe a collective effort from individuals, educators, law enforcement and government should play a role in countering cyber-bullying. The vast majority of adults believe that it is parents who should be taking a primary role in countering cyber-bullying, and 60% of adults believe teens should take on a primary role — an attitude that is shared among both parents of teens and non-parents. Nearly half of BC residents (48%) feel that individuals should take the primary role. A smaller number of adults feel that the public school system (40%), police (32%), and media (30%) should take a primary role, but a large minority believe these organizations should play secondary roles (35%, 35%, and 27%, respectively).

The relatively new social phenomenon of cyber-bullying is driven by the relatively large number of British Columbians engaged in social media activities. Currently, 46% of adults use Facebook on a daily basis, a figure that increases to 64% among 18-34 year olds, and 50% of 35-44 year olds (daily Facebook use is reported by 29% of the 55+ age group). Daily Facebook use is also disproportionately higher among BC adults with teens living in the household (58%) vs. those without teens (43%). On average, 11% of British Columbians use Facebook weekly, 11% monthly, and 27% use it less often than that (about 5% don't know). Women continue to dominate the Facebook space, with 53% being daily users, vs. 38% of men.

Daily usage of Twitter is currently 16% on average — but dramatically higher among the 18-34 year old group (37%), dropping off to 15% among 35-54's, and only 4% among 55+. Other social media platforms (such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc.) have increased to the point where 10% of the current population report daily usage.
Bullying is bullying.
Comment by Janice Robinson on 29th October 2012
No matter how it is accomplished, bullying is a cowardly act....perpetrated by losers when they believe retaliation is unlikely. When retaliation does occur, the suprised bully is quite proficient at projecting herself as the victim. Waahhh.

There have always been useless bullies in this world, and always will be. Young, loser bullies grow up to be manipulative, miserable, old bullies. They are the ugly part of the "Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

Other than standing against bullies whenever the need arises, I leave them to their miserable lives, and mind my own business.

"To thine own self be true."