Parents have mixed views on how schools respond to cyberbullying. A report from University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health indicates that parents are concerned about cyberbullying but have different views on how to define it and mete out appropriate punishments.
The poll surveyed a national sample of parents of teens age 13-17, and asked for their views on some situations. Was a campaign on social media to elect a student for homecoming court as a prank cyberbullying? 63 percent of parents said it definitely was. The majority also believed that posting online rumors that a student had sex at school is definitely cyberbullying.
But sharing an altered photo making a classmate appear fat or posting online rumors about cheating drew less certain results. less than half of the parents considered these activities to be cyberbullying. Mothers were more likely to consider actions as cyberbullying than fathers.
“We know that parents are concerned about the harms of cyberbullying, but we wanted to learn if there was a consensus among parents about what actually constitutes cyberbullying,” says lead researcher Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and associate research scientist in the U-M Department of Pediatrics. “What we found is that parents differ a lot when it comes to defining cyberbullying.”