watch video Too much texting, too much calling. Are your kids at risk?
·76% of people ages 14-24 say that digital abuse is a serious problem.
·Compared to 2009, young people in 2011 were significantly more likely to step in if they saw someone "being mean online."
·Some of the most frequent forms of digital harassment include people writing things online that aren't true (26%), people writing things online that are mean (24%), and someone forwarding an IM or message that was intended to stay private (20%).
·Digital abuse isn't generally the act of strangers -- perpetrators are usually people the victims know well.
·(All of the above are from the 2011 AP-MTV Digital Abuse study)
Digital harassment is when kids and teens use cell phones, social networks, and other communications devices to bully, threaten, and aggressively badger someone.While it's a form of cyberbullying, "digital harassment" is a bit different because it usually takes place between two people in a romantic relationship.
Certainly, lots of young people conduct healthy relationships and use their online and mobile lives to stay connected to each other. But not all relationships are balanced -- especially with teens, whose emotional lives run at peak speeds.
Some relationships can become manipulative and controlling, and teens use the digital devices at their disposal to act out. A few texts a day can turn into a few hundred. Relentless and unreasonable demands escalate. The abuser presses for things likethe other person's passwords(so they can check up on them) andsexy photosand forces their significant other to unfriend people whom the abuser doesn't like. They may spread lies, impersonate someone, or even resort to blackmail.
However, there's a bright spot in all this. The survey also found that kids and teens who discover digital harassment among their friends are now more likely to intervene if they see someone being mean online than they were in 2009.
Large public-awareness campaigns -- most notablyMTV's A Thin Lineand The Family Violence Prevention Fund'sThat's Not Cool-- are helping teens recognize when staying connected crosses the line into digital harassment. These campaigns use kids' idols -- like Justin Bieber -- and entertaining videos to give teens the language they need to identify and end digital harassment.
Start a discussion.Your teen may not tell you if harassment is happening directly to him or her. But you can bring it up when you talk about online safety and responsible behavior. Tell kids about resources like That's Not Cool and the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.
Let them know you're always there for them.Remind teens often that you're always available to talk to. While you're at it, put in a plug for the school counselor, a teacher, or even a friend's parent -- knowing that they have a trusted adult to talk to may encourage teens to open up.
Help them set boundaries.Tell teensneverto do anything that's outside their comfort zone -- like sharing passwords or sending sexual photos. (It never hurts to reiterate that anything you send can travel far and wide.)
If you suspect your kid may be harassing someone:
Check up on them.Check your teen's Facebook page and cell phone to see what kind of messages she's sending -- and whether anyone is telling her to back off.Check in with other parents -- the parents of your kid's friends may know something you don't.
Help your kid.Find a counselor or an organization that's equipped to help. (See resources at right.)
Tips for all parents:
Check your teens' texts, IMs, and status updates.Be aware of who your kids are talking to, what they're saying, and how they're saying it. If your teens won't share their messages, look at your bill to see the quantity of texts.
Have a zero-tolerance policy.No sexting, no hate speech, no stalkerish behavior. Make sure you explain the rules of responsible ownership of their devices.
Teach kids to be upstanders, not bystanders.If teens see their friends getting harassed, they should report it to a teacher, a counselor, or another responsible, trustworthy adult.
Talk about the pressure to broadcast.Kids in abusive relationships are often coerced into sending scantily clad or naked pictures of themselves to "prove" their love. If this happens to your kid, that's a big red flag.
Talk about what's private.Kids differ from their parents in their take on what's "private" and what's OK to share. Explain to them the consequences of posting or sending intimate stuff. It can be copied, forwarded, and sent to thousands of kids in an instant.
The following is the Summary of findings: from their recent research about Teens, Smartphones & Texting
Published by Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist, Pew Internet Project, PewResearchCenter March 19, 2012
The volume of texting among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen text user. Older teens, boys, and blacks are leading the increase. Texting is the dominant daily mode of communication between teens and all those with whom they communicate.
The typical American teen is sending and receiving a greater number of texts than in 2009. Overall, 75% of all teens text. Here are the key findings about the role of texting in teens’ lives:
·The median number of texts (i.e. the midpoint user in our sample) sent on a typical day by teens 12-17 rose from 50 in 2009 to 60 in 2011.
·Much of this increase occurred among older teens ages 14-17, who went from a median of 60 texts a day to a median of 100 two years later. Boys of all ages also increased their texting volume from a median of 30 texts daily in 2009 to 50 texts in 2011. Black teens showed an increase of a median of 60 texts per day to 80.
·Older girls remain the most enthusiastic texters, with a median of 100 texts a day in 2011, compared with 50 for boys the same age.
·63% of all teens say they exchange text messages every day with people in their lives. This far surpasses the frequency with which they pick other forms of daily communication, including phone calling by cell phone (39% do that with others every day), face-to-face socializing outside of school (35%), social network site messaging (29%), instant messaging (22%), talking on landlines (19%) and emailing (6%).
The frequency of teens’ phone chatter with friends – on cell phones and landlines – has fallen. But the heaviest texters are also the heaviest talkers with their friends.
Teens’ phone conversations with friends are slipping in frequency.
14% of all teens say they talk daily with friends on a landline, down from 30% who said so in 2009. Nearly a third (31%) of teens say they never talk on a landline with friends (or report that they cannot do so).
26% of all teens (including those with and without cell phones) say they talk daily with friends on their cell phone, down from 38% of teens in 2009.
However, the Pew Internet survey shows that the heaviest texters are also the heaviest talkers. The heaviest texters (those who exchange more than 100 texts a day) are much more likely than lighter texters to say that they talk on their cell phone daily. Some 69% of heavy texters talk daily on their cell phones, compared with 46% of medium texters (those exchanging 21-100 texts a day) and 43% of light texters (those exchanging 0-20 texts a day).
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