Parents Can Stop Pandemic Cyberbullying

WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Cyberbullying is less common among teens who feel loved and supported by their parents, new research shows.

The findings could be particularly relevant during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a team from New York University.

“With distance learning replacing classroom instruction for many young people, and cell phones and social media serving as face-to-face interaction with friends, there are more possibilities for cyberbullying,” noted study author Laura Grunin. She is a doctoral student at Rory Meyers College of Nursing, NYU, New York.

“New family dynamics and domestic stressors are also at play, thanks to higher unemployment rates and more parents working from home,” she added in a university press release.

For the study, which was based on surveys from 2009 and 2010, Grunin and his team analyzed responses from more than 12,600 young Americans between the ages of 11 and 15. The children were asked about their bullying behavior and their relationship with their parents.

The more loving teens viewed their parents, the less likely they were to cyberbully, according to the survey results.

Those who said their parents “almost never” loved were at least six times more likely to engage in high levels of cyberbullying than those who said their parents “almost always” loved.

Other types of emotional support, including the extent to which teens felt their parents were helping and understanding them, also influenced cyberbullying behavior, the researchers noted.

The study was published on September 2 in the International Journal of Bullying Prevention.

More than half of American teens say they have experienced online harassment, insults, threats or rumors.

According to study co-author Sally Cohen, clinical professor at NYU Meyers, “Understanding what factors are linked to a young person’s cyberbullying against their peers is important in developing ways in which families, schools and communities can prevent bullying or intervene when it occurs.

Grunin said the results underscore the importance of emotional support from parents.

“I would point out to parents that it is not necessarily so they think they are supporting, but what their teen is thinking, “Grunin explained.” Parents should strive to discern their teen’s perception of parental emotional support, as it could be associated with youth cyberbullying behavior.

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Jothi Venkat

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