There’s something about the Internet that can bring out meanness in teenagers.
That is one finding of a study to be released Wednesday that reports that nine in 10 teenagers say they have witnessed cruelty by their peers on social networks.
For the vast majority of teens, Facebook is the social network of choice. They say that incidents of mean and cruel behavior are pervasive and cut across all ages and backgrounds on social networks, according to the study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, which surveyed 800 children between the ages of 12 and 17.
The data on Internet experiences for young people is not all bad. Eight in 10 teenagers said they have developed positive feelings about themselves and forged better friendships on social networking sites, according to Pew.
Still, the prevalence of “mean” behavior — a term the center doesn’t define — raised concerns among child-safety advocates and parents who say adolescents may be subjecting themselves to unhealthy online environments.