Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites

Pew Internet (“The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.”) released a report on 9 November on Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites. Although interviewees were American, there are many conclusions the report makes that can apply to young Australians.

  • Fully 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites. Many log on daily to their social network pages and these have become spaces where much of the social activity of teen life is echoed and amplified—in both good and bad ways.
  • Facebook dominates social media use

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  • 88% of social media using teens have seen someone be mean or cruel on a social networking site
  • Only one in five teenagers say they were bullied in the past year. The most common occurrence was in person bullying
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  • Most teenagers say they just ignore the mean behaviour they see on a social media platform
  • Those who have had negative experiences are more likely to have public profiles
  • Parental monitoring: most parents prefer non-technical monitoring
  • Parents see the Internet and mobile phones’ role as a mixed blessing for their teenagers: tech helps their kids to be connected and it can bring distressing things into their lives.

Read the report summary here and the entire report here.


Another website that uses real life scenarios to work through reactions and options to cybersafety issues is chatdanger.


Developed by the UK charity Childnet International, chatdanger covers:

  • mobiles
  • chat
  • email
  • messenger
  • games

With quizzes, facts and safety tips, it’s well worth the few minutes it takes to work through the different scenarios.