Tuesday, November 15, 2016
As middle and high school students spend more time online, a survey of teenagers and their parents finds that cyberbullying is a prevalent issue that touches a majority of area teens. Twenty-six percent of teens across upstate New York and 22 percent in the Capital Region have been cyberbullied, according to the results of a new survey released by the Siena College Research Institute, AT&T, and the Tyler Clementi Foundation.
A special event was held Tuesday at the Palace Theatre in Albany to announce the results of the survey and talk about the impact of cyberbullying. It was attended by representatives from all three entities, elected officials, and teens from the Capital Region. The program featured short films and documentaries produced by high school students across the country for AT&T’s Cyberbullying Film Invitational.
“In the Capital Region, one of every eight parents says that their child has been bullied online,” said Don Levy, Ph.D., SRI’s director. “Virtually all parents and nearly 90 percent of teens both across upstate and locally agree that cyberbullying is a serious problem and needs to be addressed before it gets worse.”
The survey also showed that slightly more than half of teens and parents in the area have witnessed cyberbullying, including insulting or threatening comments and pictures meant to embarrass posted online, revealing videos shared online, and posted rumors or allegations about sexual activity.
The announcement featured Jane Clementi, mother of Tyler, who committed suicide after his college roommate cyberbullied him about his sexuality.
The Clementi family created their foundation in honor of their son’s memory to help address the issue of cyberbullying. They are promoting the role of “Upstander,” which encourages teens and those who love them to stand up and speak out when they see cyberbullying happen.
“These survey statistics speak to the staggering problem of cyberbullying” said Jane Clementi. “It’s outrageous and simply unacceptable to allow this to continue. Aggressive behavior in the electronic world can cause great pain and destruction to one’s spirit. We must instill in our youth the knowledge that technology is only as good as the people who use it.”
The teens in the audience took the Upstander pledge, promising to join with others in taking a stand against cyberbullying.
Press conferences also will be held this week in Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.