A recent Associated Press and MTV poll of teenagers found that 56 percent of them have been the target of online taunting, harassment or bullying. 4 out of 10 of those polled who were in a relationship said their partners used computers or cellphones negatively in the relationship.
Catherine Devine experienced online bullying at a young age, according to Boston.com “They were making things up about me, and I was the most innocent 12-year-old ever,” she said. “I hadn’t even kissed anybody yet.”
This “digital abuse” has become a problem amongst young people with the rise of the technology age. Phoebe Prince and, more recently, Jamey Rodemeyer, were bullied over the Internet to the point that they took their own lives. These cases have garnered national attention, right up to President Obama.
The President brought students, parents and experts to the White House in March to talk about and condemn cyber bullying, and last week Lady Gaga chatted with Obama about passing legislation making bullying illegal.
Boston.com asserts that the recent increase in online bullying may be due to the increase in time that young people spend on social networking sites. They say 7 in 10 had logged into a social networking site in the previous week, and 8 in 10 had texted a friend.
Cyber bullying researcher Sameer Hinduja said that 20 to 25 percent more middle and high school students experience cyber bullying. He also suggests that online bullying carries into real life.
“When I was bullied in middle school I could go home and slam my door and forget about it for a while,” said Hinduja. “These kids can be accessed around the clock through technology. There’s really no escape.”
Some surveyed that their romantic partners have pressured them into sending nude pictures via text or online.
Catherine Devine’s former boy friend pressured her into sending nude pictures, and then threatened her with them when they broke up.
“I didn’t realize the power he could have over me from that,” Devine said. “I thought he’d just see it once and then delete it, like I had deleted it.”
Fifteen percent of young people, including those in their early 20s, have shared a nude photo through technology, according to Boston.com.
Technology also plays a part in dating violence, including partners checking up on significant others constantly, and snooping in private online accounts. Fourteen percent of those polled say they have been the victim of technological dating abuse.
The poll was conducted from August 18-31 and was comprised of online interviews with 1,355 people ages 14-24.