More than one in three parents in the US are concerned about their children being bullied both in the real world and online, a survey has revealed. The survey, “Eleventh National Poll on Children’s Health” by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in the US, found that 34 per cent of adults worry about their children being bullied and cyber bullied.
“Adults across the country recognised bullying, including cyber bullying, as the leading health problem for US children,” Gary Freed, Professor from the Hospital, said in a statement.
Other causes of worry include Internet safety (30 per cent) and stress (28 per cent), motor vehicle accidents (28 per cent), school violence (25 per cent), depression (22 per cent), unhealthy eating (22 per cent), sedentary lifestyle (21 per cent), drug abuse (20 per cent) and sexting (20 per cent), the researchers said.
As more children have access to the Internet and social media, many parents expressed concern about their children’s safety online. Experts have raised concerns about how cyber bullying may impact children’s mental health, with anxiety, depression and even suicide being linked to this type of harassment. Vulnerability to online predators is also a risk.
“Parents should regularly discuss Internet safety with their children and teens and ways to prevent problems,” Freed said. “Simple effective strategies may include not providing personal identifying information on social media, chat platforms, or in shared gaming environments.”
Motor vehicle accidents — which are the leading cause of death for children aged two-14 — were also of great concern to all groups of parents. In 2015, more than 650 children died and more than 1,20,000 were injured in crashes.
The report is based on responses from 2,051 adults — including 1,505 parents of children aged 0-18 — from a nationally representative household survey. The survey also showed that African-American parents were most concerned about racial inequities and school violence affecting their children.