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.