In an age when many parents globally are concerned about cyberbullying, one in five parents in the US feels that students who post online rumors about sex should be referred to police but far fewer called for the same punishment for rumors regarding cheating in exams. Also Read - Safer Internet Day 2021: Here's how you can ensure your online security
According to an annual US survey, less than half of parents said sharing an altered photo to make a classmate appear fatter or posting online rumors that a student was caught cheating on a test was definitely cyberbullying. In nearly all cases, mothers were also more likely than fathers to label actions as cyberbullying. Also Read - Mobile internet services suspended on Delhi borders till February 2
The poll included a national sample of parents of teenagers aged 13-17 who were asked for their views on hypothetical situations. Parents recommended the most severe punishments for posting online rumors about a student having sex in school. While 21 percent of parents felt referral to law enforcement was an appropriate punishment for a sex rumor, only five percent said spreading rumors about academic cheating should be reported to police. “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,” said lead researcher Sarah J. Clark, associate director of University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, in National Poll on Children’s Health. Also Read - Mobile internet suspended in Haryana till 5PM on February 1, 2021
Does a social media campaign to elect a student for homecoming count as a prank? Definitely cyberbullying, 63 percent of respondents reported. Posting online rumors that a student had sex at school? The majority again – nearly two-thirds – say there is no question that is cyberbullying. “Not only are parents unsure about which actions should be considered cyberbullying. They also do not agree on penalties,” Clark noted.
Depending on the content of online rumors for example, parents recommended punishment ranging from making the student apologize to reporting the student to police. “Schools should consider these differing opinions to avoid criminalizing teenagers’ behavior that is hard to define and enforce consistently,” the authors noted.