Cyber bullies -- blame the parents

82% says kids are victims of online bullying

Parents with verbally aggressive behaviour make cyber-bullies out of their children, according to a survey of 2,300 parents. See: Latest PC security advice

The survey, from PC security firm Bitdefender, also shows that a massive 82 percent of parents said their children had been exposed to cyber-bullying, including insults, threats, or having their pictures disclosed without their permission. A similar survey last year put this number at 90 percent.

When it comes to aggressiveness the research showed a direct correlation between parental behaviour at home and children's habits on the internet.

Calm and conciliatory parental behaviour apparently fosters the same type of child behaviour, while violent language leads to unwanted online habits such as cyber bullying.

The Bitdefender research also revealed the top five cyber-bullying threats children are exposed to: spreading rumours (93 percent), being mocked (83 percent), being insulted (75 percent), being threatened (63 percent) and sharing photos without permission (58 percent).

Four out of five parents admitted that they have met only some of their children's virtual friends. At the same time, almost a third of teenagers told their parents they shared personal information on the internet such as passwords or other sensitive data. See: Best parental security programs

"Cyber-bullying remains a vivid threat harming children through multiple environments such as email, mobile phone, social media, instant messaging, web sites or blogs," said Alexandru Balan, Chief Security Researcher at Bitdefender.

"Whether they are victims or harassers, young people are very affected by cyber-bullying, and some require specialised support to recover from the psychological consequences."

Individuals from the UK, the US, Germany, Romania, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Netherlands, France and Austria responded to the Bitdefender study, which was conducted between July and September 2012.

The research is based on two surveys: one with 1,800 randomly selected parents (with children aged 7 to 18), and another one with 500 parents observed for one day through non-invasive methods in their familiar environment.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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