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More than half of WNY teens report witnessing cyberbullying

About one in five teens in Western New York have been cyberbullied and more than half of area teens have witnessed it being done to others, according to survey results released last week.

The results, issued by the Siena College Research Institute, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation – named for the New Jersey college student who committed suicide after being cyberbullied – also found the amount of online bullying reported in Western New York is less than the upstate average, where one in four teens surveyed said they have been cyberbullied.

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"In Western New York, one of every eight parents says that their child has been bullied online compared to one of every six parents across upstate," Don Levy, director of the institute, said in a news release.

"Virtually all parents and nearly 90 percent of teens both across upstate and locally agree that cyberbullying is a serious problem that needs to be addressed before it gets worse," he continued.

Here are some of the other results for Western New York found in the survey:

• Fifty-five percent of teens reported they have witnessed cyberbullying.

• More than half of parents reported having witnessed cyberbullying.

• Nearly a quarter of area teens said their friends have been cyberbullied.

• Thirty-nine percent said they know other teens who have been bullied online.

Only 5 percent of teens surveyed said they have committed acts of cyberbullying, though 11 percent said their friends have bullied others and more than 25 percent said they know other teens who practiced cyberbullying, according to the Siena College Research Institute.

Those who admitted to cyberbullying said their reasons for doing it included to get back at someone, because they were angry at someone or something or because they thought it would be funny.

Nearly one in three teens in Western New York responded to the survey saying they laugh it off when someone posts something negative about them. But 9 percent of all teens and 13 percent of girls said they have cried because of something posted about them or someone close to them, the survey found.

How do teens respond to witnessing cyberbullying?

Ten percent told researchers they ignore it in part because they’re afraid of becoming the next victim. More than a third said they reach out to the victim, 30 percent try to do something about it and 12 percent report it.


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