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Study Reveals Parents' Mixed Opinions on What Constitutes Cyberbullying, Appropriate Punishments

Study Reveals Parents' Mixed Opinions on What Constitutes Cyberbullying, Appropriate Punishments

Though many parents admit to being concerned about cyberbullying, a report released this week from University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health indicates that many are divided on what defines cyberbullying as well as appropriate punishments.

"The poll included a national sample of parents of teens aged 13-17, who were asked for their views on hypothetical situations," according to

Parents were largely in agreement that several scenarios constituted cyberbullying but couldn't agree on the rest.

"A social media campaign to elect a student for homecoming court as a prank? Definitely cyberbullying, 63 percent say. Posting online rumors that a student had sex at school? The majority again - nearly two-thirds - say there's no question that's cyberbullying," the article said.

But parents started to disagree on scenarios such as altering photos to change students' appearances or posting rumors that a student had cheated on a test.

While the study revealed that mothers were most likely to label scenarios as cyberbullying, fathers were more hesitant.

Parents also generally differed on appropriate consequences for cyberbullying offenses. While " 21 percent of parents felt referral to law enforcement was an appropriate punishment for a sex rumor, only 5 percent say spreading rumors about academic cheating should be reported to police."

For other scenarios, parents supported punishments ranging from reporting the bully's behavior to supporting detention, suspension, and even law enforcement referral for the bully in question.

The study comes right before the start of October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is consistently ranked as the second biggest concern in children's health, only being beaten by the rampant problem of childhood obesity.

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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