EAGAN, Minn., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In an era when reports of cyberbullying among children are prevalent, a new survey from FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website, says nearly one out of twelve parents report their child has been a victim of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying involves threatening, harassing, hateful, hostile or reputation-damaging messages or photos that are sent though text messages, social networks and emails. According to FindLaw.com, seven percent of parents surveyed say that their child has experienced such cyberbullying.
Three-quarters of those parents say they reported the cyberbullying to others, usually friends, school, relatives, law enforcement, and church or clergy.
Many states have enacted cyberbullying laws that specifically protect minors from online bullying or harassment. In addition, other state laws involving "cyberharassment" and bullying may come into play. There is currently no federal law specifically addressing bullying in any form, but other federal laws, such as civil rights and nondiscrimination laws, may require schools to intervene with certain types of bullying.
"By some reports, bullying – and especially cyberbullying – has reached epidemic proportions among schoolchildren," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at FindLaw.com. "While our survey indicates that about one in twelve parents report their child being victimized by cyberbullying, the survey likely understates the true incidence of cyberbullying. Many parents may not be aware that their children are receiving threatening or harassing messages, or that reputation-damaging posts about their children are being made on social media sites. Many children may be unwilling or reluctant to share that information with their parents. However, laws on bullying and cyberbullying may offer protections that authorize schools and other authorities, including law enforcement, to take appropriate action to stop the cyberbullying when it occurs."
Free information on "What To Do If Your Child is Bullied" and "Is Your Child a Bully?" can be found at the FindLaw section on Bullying & The Law at http://education.findlaw.com/student-conduct-and-discipline/bullying-and-the-law.html.
The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 580 American adults with children has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent.
Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.