If you judged only by the news and crappy ABC Family movies, social networks like Facebook are used only by teens to cyberbully each other. But teens say people are meaner in the real world.
The Pew Research Center released a new study about cyberbullying among our cyberteens. For the study, they interviewed 799 teens age 12-17, whom they were somehow able to tear away from their smartphones. Turns out the majority of them—69 percent— think that "people are mostly kind" on social networks, even though 88 percent have said they've witnessed "people being mean or cruel." One in five teens said they've been bullied, but the biggest source of bullying by far was in-person encounters (12 percent), not the internet (7 percent).
Compared to the real world, these statistics make social networks seem like a fairy tale land of human kindness. Zuckerberg's Utopia. 12 percent of teens have never seen anyone being mean on social networks! Unless you live in some weird hippie commune, 100 percent of teens see people being mean in the real world.
Clearly, we must protect our children from the horrible real world, where face-to-face interaction enables cruelty and dangerous "RealLifeBullying." Congress should pass a law requiring anyone who wants to sign up for the real world be 13 or over.