More than a quarter of children across the UK said bullying or someone being unkind to them was what worried them most online
Being cyber-bullied is children’s greatest fear when they go online, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the NSPCC and O2.
More than a quarter of children (27 per cent) across the UK said bullying or someone being unkind to them was what worried them the most when using the internet.
The survey by Chrysalis Research of more than 4,000 children aged eight to 13 found being contacted by someone they don’t know was the second biggest online concern (16 per cent of respondents).
The poll was carried out ahead of Tuesday’s Safer Internet Day.
One teenage girl confided to a Childline counsellor about her experience of cyber-bullying.
“I met them online on this game and we were friends at first but then it all turned nasty,” she said.
“He says some really bad stuff to me and makes me feel so rubbish about myself. I feel so humiliated because other people on the site see it and then join in. I don’t know what to do.”
Childline provided 15,851 counselling sessions last year in relation to online and face-to-face bullying.
Cyber-bullying also seems to be a constantly changing phenomenon. A report by Digital Awareness UK in October highlighted how some vulnerable young people who go online to seek support can find themselves being bullied and accused of “sadfishing” – a mocking accusation that they are exaggerating their problems in order to gain attention.
The NSPCC and O2 survey found that speaking to parents or carers is overwhelmingly seen by children (89 per cent) as the thing to do to help them stay safe online.
But an additional survey of about 4,700 parents and carers found that only 35 per cent said their children had raised internet safety with them in the past 12 months.
And the survey found that while 92 per cent of parents felt they knew how to advise their child on staying safe online, less than half (42 per cent) had agreed guidelines on what they do when using the internet.
Laura Randall, associate head of child safety online and innovation at the NSPCC, said: “Children and young people are becoming increasingly aware of the risks they face when going online and the vital role their parents or carers can play in ensuring they stay safe.
She added: “As a result, parents and carers need to take the initiative and set up regular conversations with their child about their online life.”
The NSPCC and O2 have published an “online family agreement” for parents and children to fill-in and sign together to help encourage more regular conversations about internet safety.
It contains suggestions for promises that children and parents should make to one other – for example that a child will check with their parents before they download a new app.
Published at Mon, 10 Feb 2020 03:53:00 +0000