October 24, 2013

Parents Turn to Law Enforcement First When Their Children Face Cyberbullying, Says New Thomson Reuters Survey

Parents Turn to Law Enforcement First When Their Children Face Cyberbullying, Says New Thomson Reuters Survey

EAGAN, Minn. – A survey of American parents has found that when their children experience cyberbullying, 36 percent of parents would turn to law enforcement to address the issue, according to a new survey from the Fraud Prevention & Investigations (FP&I) business of Thomson Reuters. Parents were more likely to turn first to law enforcement rather than schools or family and friends.

While half of parents said they were very or somewhat concerned about cyberbullying, the majority of parents surveyed said they don’t know if their children’s school has a policy on cyberbullying.

When asked whom they would turn to first if their child experienced cyberbullying, law enforcement and schools were the clear top choices:

  • Law enforcement 36%
  • School 29%
  • Relatives 9%
  • Friends 8%
  • Church/Clergy 2%
  • Others 2%
  • No one 2%
  • Not sure 12%

A second separate survey of law enforcement professionals conducted by FP&I in conjunction with PoliceOne.com revealed that half of law enforcement agencies report the time spent investigating cyberbullying, bullying and school violence has increased over the past two years. Yet, most law enforcement agencies feel ill-equipped to effectively investigate these cases, with 76 percent reporting that current cyberbullying training is insufficient.

Of law enforcement professionals surveyed, 68 percent work to foster relationships with school officials and/or principals to prevent or deter cyberbullying, bullying and school violence.  

“Though parents and law enforcement may be challenged by cyberbullying, I believe these surveys suggest a strong link between parents, law enforcement and schools when it comes to confronting this issue,” said Jason Thomas, a senior strategic analyst with the Fraud Prevention & Investigations business of Thomson Reuters. “As technology evolves around this issue, along with good communication between parents, schools and law enforcement, we can better protect our kids from cyberbullying.”

New investigative tools and technologies are helping law enforcement agencies gain an advantage in tracking cyberbullies. Among these is the CLEAR® investigative suite, which investigators can use to analyze the online and social media activities of people and organizations suspected of criminal activity.

The FP&I survey of parents was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 642 American parents and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent. The survey of law enforcement professionals was conducted in conjunction with PoliceOne.com among a group of 155 law enforcement professionals.

Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.

Thomson Reuters

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