As part of its long-running anti-bullying campaign, Cartoon Network and the Cyberbullying Research Center released results of a study that found that 21% of tweens have experienced cyberbullying.
According to the survey of 1,034 tweens, 15% said they had witnessed cyberbullying, 15% have been cyberbullied themselves, and 3% said they had cyberbullied others.
Cartoon Network, part of AT&T, said the study is the first nationally representative survey of cyberbullying among tweens. The study is part of the channel’s long-running Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative and the results will be used to anchor its 2021 campaign, which will include public service announcements.
“While there has been considerable research about cyberbullying among teens, there has been a huge gap in our understanding of these behaviors among tweens,” said Justin Patchin, Ph.D., professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “This is a critical development stage, yet it has been vastly understudied when it comes to cyberbullying.”
The study also found that of the 15% of tweens who said they have been cyberbullied, 94% said it had a negative impact on them, including on their feelings about themselves, their friendships and their schoolwork. About two-thirds of tweens said they were willing to step in to defend, support or assist when they see people being bullied at school or online. But about 35% said they were afraid that trying to help would make the bullying worse, 26.8% said they don’t know how to report it online and 18.3% said they were afraid other kids would make fun of them.
Having done the research, Cartoon Network has created social content with tips from the Cyberbullying Research Center aimed at parents to help their children identify and stand up to cyberbullying.
“It was especially important for us to collaborate with the Cyberbullying Research Center on this critical research as tweens head back to their virtual classrooms, spending more time on digital platforms than ever before,” said Tricia Melton, chief marketing officer of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics. “Cartoon Network will use these findings to help equip kids, tweens and parents with the tools they need to stand up to cyberbullying.”
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