Cyber-bullying concerns rise as just 1 in 10 parents think that their child is safe online
A major new study commissioned by McAfee and the Anti-Bullying Alliance reveals that most children’s internet use takes place away from the watchful eye of a parent. The research, published to mark the launch of national Anti-Bullying Week, found that cyber-bullying behaviours are commonplace, with 16% of children having been the recipients of mean or cruel behaviour online.
Findings showed that 26% of children and teens spend between 4-6 hours or more online every day with 53% of children going online in their own room and 66% using a personal smartphone. In addition, nearly one in five (19%) of teens admit to lying to their parents about what they’ve been doing online.
With almost half (46%) of parents having set up their child’s social networking site and 45% of parents with children under the age of 13 having set up a Facebook account for their child, despite the age restriction, parents may be unintentionally enabling their children’s online behaviours. Where restrictions are in place, over one in eight children (13%) has lied about their age to get around them.
Just one in ten (11%) parents believes that their children are safe online, with almost half (45%) stating that online bullying is a major concern for them. Worryingly, 38% of parents think that their children may have been bullied online (with 9% stating that they know this for certain) and 33% believe that their children may be the bullies themselves (6% have been made aware that their child has been a bully).
The research also suggested that children need help to better understand what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour online, with many of them unaware of what constitutes cyber-bullying.
To help parents and children, McAfee and the Anti-Bullying Alliance have published an online paper: ‘Digital Deception: The Online Behaviour of Teens’, which aims to give parents and children the tools they need to better protect themselves and their family. The paper can be downloaded now from http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/ and is accompanied by a series of online videos.