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Stopping Cyberbullying: Who's Responsible?
[May 17, 2011]

Stopping Cyberbullying: Who's Responsible?

BOSTON --(Business Wire)--

As children and teens increasingly live their lives online - sharing photos and information online, meeting and staying in touch with friends through social networking sites and sending texts via mobile phones - real-life problems such as bullying are also tagging along. The problem of cyberbullying, and where the burden of responsibility to stop cyberbullying lies, is a major concern for parents and other social media users. According to findings released today from a national survey by Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project, the majority of social media users (77 percent) think that the parent should be responsible for resolving the situation if their child is a victim of cyberbullying by classmates. Furthermore, the majority of social media users (69 percent) also believe that school authority figures should be doing more to stop cyberbullying. In addition to uncovering attitudes about cyberbullying, the survey also examined views on social media as it relates to parenting.

The 2011 Liberty Mutual "Social Media and Personal Responsibility Benchmark Survey" sheds light on attitudes toward the responsible use of the Internet, social media and technology as it relates to parenting, school, the workplace and relationships. The survey was conducted for the first time in 2010, and the findings from this year's survey are being released in three installments, with this first release focusing on findings related to schools and parenting. The survey is part of Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project, an online community individuals can visit to view entertaining content and comment on the decisions that confront people trying to "do the right thing."

Key insights about cyberbullying from the 2011 Liberty Mutual "Social Media and Personal Responsibility Benchmark Survey" include:



Younger and older social media users have slightly differing opinions about who should be responsible for resolving cyberbullying.


Younger social media users, ages 18-24, are more likely (11 percent) than others (5 percent) to think that a child who is being cyberbullied is primarily responsible for resolving his or her own situation.


Older social media users, ages 65 and older, are more likely (21 percent) than others (13 percent) to think that the teacher is primarily responsible for resolving the cyberbullying.



The majority (69 percent) of social media users believe that the administrators of the social networks themselves should also do more to stop cyberbullying.


"As the overall usage of social networks and new technology increases and with the upcoming summer months giving children more time to spend online, parents must find opportunities to teach their children responsible online behavior," said Janet Taylor, MD, MPH, a parenting and relationship expert and psychiatrist in New York City, who is a contributor to Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project. "We hope that Liberty Mutual's 2011 social media and responsibility survey helps parents initiate conversations with their spouses, children, teachers and school administrators about appropriate ways to identify and prevent cyberbullying."

Key findings about parents and social media usage from the 2011 survey also show that while parents are increasingly concerned with their children's privacy online, they are more lenient with their own usage of social media:



Though just 38 percent of parents think it is responsible to post pictures of their children online, 61 percent of parents admit to posting pictures of their children online.



While an overwhelming 96 percent of parents would not allow their children to publicly share their location using geolocation technology, 72 percent would use geolocation to keep track of their children's location.



Compared to last year, parents are more willing to allow their children to use social networks, but have also increased the monitoring of their children's social media usage:



Compared to 2010, parents are much more inclined to allow their children to have a Facebook or MySpace account before the age of 18 (80 percent in 2011 vs. only 69 percent in 2010). The number of parents who say they would allow their child to have a social media account between the ages of 10 and 12 doubled from 2010 to 2011, despite the fact that social networks like Facebook (News - Alert) require a user to be at least 13 years of age to sign up.


However, only one in five (17 percent) parents would allow their child under age 18 to own a Facebook or MySpace (News - Alert) account without monitoring their child's account. Three in five parents (59 percent) say children should be 18 years old before they are allowed to keep their Facebook or MySpace account to themselves without parental monitoring.



A majority of parents whose children have social media accounts are "friends" with their children on Facebook or MySpace (74 percent), up slightly from 69 percent in 2010.


Liberty Mutual encourages individuals to learn more about the 2011 "Social Media and Personal Responsibility Benchmark Survey" results and join the conversation to voice their opinion about responsible online and social media behavior by visiting The Responsibility Project website and online community at

About the Survey

The 2011 "Social Media and Personal Responsibility Benchmark Survey" was fielded for Liberty Mutual's The Responsibility Project by Ketchum Global Research Network and Braun Research between February 16-20, 2011, reaching 1,006 adults nationwide. The base sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About The Responsibility Project

The Responsibility Project, created by Liberty Mutual, is an organic evolution of the company's advertising campaign that has showcased personal acts of responsibility and daily examples of ordinary people making the decision to do considerate things for strangers. These ads featured the tagline, "Responsibility. What's your policy?" Through The Responsibility Project, Liberty Mutual is using entertaining content, including independently produced short films, blogs, articles, advertising and television programming, as catalysts for examining the decisions that confront people trying to "do the right thing."

The Responsibility Project's online community launched in the beginning of 2008, and to date there have been more than 19 million unique visitors to the site. Individuals can participate in online conversations about personal responsibility and watch and discuss live-action and animated short films at The Responsibility Project website and online community at

About Liberty Mutual Group

"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on A.M. Best Company's report of 2010 net written premium.

The Group also ranks 82nd on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2010 revenue. As of December 31, 2010, Liberty Mutual Group had $112.4 billion in consolidated assets, $95.4 billion in consolidated liabilities, and $33.2 billion in annual consolidated revenue.

Liberty Mutual Group offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobile, homeowners, workers compensation, property, commercial automobile, general liability, global specialty, group disability, reinsurance and surety. Liberty Mutual Group employs over 45,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

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