Girl with tabletIf someone starts spreading rumours about your child online, you may be the last to hear about it. Children and teens don’t necessarily recognize aggressive online behaviours as ‘bullying’ and for several reasons, they’re not keen to tell adults about it.

A 2012 national study found that about 19 percent of youth in grades 6 to 10 said they’ve been cyberbullied. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to Dr. Wendy Craig, who co-authored the study.

In the survey, children were asked about behaviours including name-calling, rumour-spreading, sending negative pictures, and saying mean things online. Their responses were startling.

“What the majority of children said was that this wasn’t aggressive behaviour and it wasn’t bullying—and yet, they report those types of negative behaviours as the most harmful things they experience online,” said Dr. Craig, who is the co-scientific director of the bullying prevention network PREVNet.

Hear more from Dr. Craig below:

Find out about our approach to teen healthy relationships, see our tips for parents or read more about online abuse.