- Students and parents report fewer recent or current problems, such as cyberstalking, cyberbullying and unwelcome personal encounters, than school fears and policies seem to imply. Only a minority of students has had any kind of negative experience with social networking in the last three months; even fewer parents report that their children have had a negative experience over a longer, six-month period.
- Most problems students and parents report are similar to the types of problems typically associated with any other media (television or popular music) or encountered in everyday life:
• One in five students (20 percent) say they have seen inappropriate pictures on social networking sites in the last three months; 11 percent of parents, referring to their own children over the last six months, concur.
• Nearly one in five students (18 percent) say they have seen inappropriate language on social networking sites; 16 percent of parents concur.
• Personally directed incidents, which are of serious concern to students, parents and educators, are relatively rare. About one in 14 students (7 percent) say someone has asked them for information about their personal identity on a social networking site; 6 percent of parents concur. About one in 14 students (7 percent) say they’ve experienced selfdefined cyberbullying; 5 percent of parents concur. About one in 25 students (4 percent) say they’ve had conversations on social networking sites that made them uncomfortable; 3 percent of parents concur. Fewer than one in 30 students (3 percent) say unwelcome strangers have tried repeatedly to communicate with them online; 3 percent of parents concur. Only about one in 50 students (2 percent) say a stranger they met online tried to meet them in person; 2 percent of parents concur. Only .08 percent of all students say they’ve actually met someone in person from an online encounter without their parents’ permission. The vast majority of students, then, seem to be living by the online safety behaviors they learn at home and at school.
- School district leaders seem to believe that negative experiences with social networking are more common than students and parents report. For example, more than half of districts (52 percent) say that students providing personal information online has been “a significant problem” in their schools, yet only 3 percent of students say they’ve ever given out their e-mail addresses, instant messaging screen names or other personal information to strangers. Similar differences occur between districts’ beliefs and students’ and parents’ reported experiences with inappropriate material, cyberbullying and other negative incidents.
- See also
Study: Fears over kids' online safety overblown
By Eric Bangeman | Published: August 08, 2007 - 12:17PM CT