Teens and young adults say cyberbullying is a serious problem for people their age, but most dont think theyll be the ones targeted for digital abuse.
That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV, which also finds that about half of both young people and their parents view social media as having a mostly negative effect on the younger generation.
Fifteen-year-old Matty Nev Luby said she’s learned to navigate Instagram and other social media apps by brushing aside the anonymous bullies.
“When I see a really mean comment about my appearance or something I did, if someone said that to me online, it means nothing to me, but if I pictured someone I know saying that, I would be really upset,” Luby said.
Roughly three-quarters of 15- to 26-year-olds say that online bullying and abuse is a serious problem for their peers. Seven percent of young people say they have already been a victim of cyberbullying, with young women (11 percent) more likely to say they were bullied than young men (3 percent).
“People will make fun of their outfits or weight, their choices,” said Luby, who lives in a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut, and has been dabbling in social media since age 12.
Her popularity on the lip-syncing app Musical.ly, which merged this summer into the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, helped win her some modeling contracts. Now she’s mostly focused on Instagram, where she follows makeup artists and fashion trends.
Her mother, KellyLynn Mahoney, said she’s impressed by her daughter’s ability to keep bullies at bay.
“Her responses blow my mind,” Mahoney said. “I’d be fists up at her age. She’s like, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way. You should probably think in a more positive way and then we’d have more peace on earth.’”
But she’s also vigilant about monitoring her daughter’s accounts, blocking any followers who seem creepy or fake and trying to steer her away from fixating on pages that degrade women.
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