The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Noguchi

U.S. teenagers think they are savvy about cy­ber­se­cu­rity — so much that nearly onethird skirt school safe­guards to ac­cess banned con­tent and 29 per­cent ad­mit to us­ing tech de­vices to cheat in school — but more than twice that many say they know of class­mates who have cheated with de­vices, a sur­vey found.

The find­ings of the sur­vey by the com­puter se­cu­rity firm McAfee are in pro­por­tion with a 2009 sur­vey by Com­mon Sense Me­dia — al­though the ex­act ex­tent of cheat­ing, and whether it’s changed over the years, is un­known.

It’s easy, stu­dents say, to take a cell­phone photo of notes or test an­swers and peek at it sur­rep­ti­tiously while tak­ing a test. At the same time, they note, vig­i­lant teach­ers no­tice those way­ward glances.

McAfee con­ducted the on­line sur­vey in June of about 3,902 high school stu­dents ages 14 to 18 — 1,201 of them in the United States, the rest in Aus­tralia, Canada and the United King­dom. In gen­eral, the per­cent­ages of re­ported cheat­ing and ac­cess­ing banned sites were higher in the United States.

So was the per­cent­age of teenagers who re­ported be­ing cy­ber­bul­lied: 30 per­cent in the United States, com­pared with 22 per­cent in the sur­vey over­all. Of the U.S. stu­dents who said they’d been vic­tim­ized, half of those re­ported in­ci­dents be­fore start­ing high school.

Those fig­ures are dis­heart­en­ing, con­sid­er­ing the ef­fort put into raising aware­ness of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing and fight­ing it, said Gary Davis of McAfee. He sug­gested ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren start­ing at an early age to help them stay safe on­line. “They need to un­der­stand what they should do to not be a vic­tim.”

Some teenagers said the sur­vey may un­der­state the preva­lence of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing.

“It does sur­prise me, I’d ex­pect it to be higher,” said Ju­lia Kol­man, 16, a ris­ing se­nior at Bran­ham High School in San Jose, Calif.

“A lot of peo­ple take to Twit­ter to cre­ate fake ac­counts or use per­sonal ac­counts to ha­rass other stu­dents.” Kol­man her­self doesn’t use so­cial me­dia much, but like many of her peers, hears about the reper­cus­sions and drama from it.

Among the plat­forms that the sur­vey in­di­cated are most used for cy­ber­bul­ly­ing among U.S. teenagers, Face­book ap­peared at the top, with 71 per­cent, fol­lowed by In­sta­gram, with 62 per­cent, and Snapchat, with 49 per­cent.

The ease of cre­at­ing mul­ti­ple ac­counts with pseudonyms and the abil­ity to post anony­mously cre­ate an invit­ing and un­mod­er­ated fo­rum, some teenagers say.

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