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Education

New poll shows parents divided on cyberbullying

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University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

A new poll shows disagreement among parents about what exactly constitutes cyberbullying.

The University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health asked hundreds of parents of children between 13 and 17 years old about cyberbullying.   

The poll found agreement that children bullying other children online is wrong. But agreement was more elusive on what exactly qualifies as cyberbullying and what’s the best response.

The poll asked parents what the response should be to different scenarios:

1)    Online attack linked to homecoming court election

2)    Sharing photo making classmate look fatter

3)    Posting online rumors

“Their patterns of calling something cyberbullying changed depending on the content and use of action,” says Sarah J. Clark, the poll’s lead researcher and the associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health. 

Clark says it makes it harder to come up with a unified approach to combating cyberbullying.

She says parents are also divided over how to respond and when to involve law enforcement.  

Clark says many of the parents in the survey are probably too old to have dealt with cyberbullying when they were in school. She says over the next ten years more parents who experienced cyberbullying in school will face these questions about their own children.  

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