Cyber-bullying study’s shocking findings spark call for national action in Anti-Bullying Week

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More than half of children go online without any parental supervision, it has been revealed. Furthermore, a majority of parents are unintentionally exposing their children to inappropriate behaviour online and cyber-bullying because they have not got prop

Furthermore, a majority of parents are unintentionally exposing their children to inappropriate behaviour online and cyber-bullying because they have not got proper parental controls in place.

The findings come from research commissioned by online safety experts McAfee and released by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) on Monday (November 18) to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week 2013.

McAfee and the ABA have now published a report and a series of online videos offering information, advice and guidance to parents and children to help them stay safe online.

Conducted this term involving more than 1,000 children aged between 10 and 17, the research also found that 16 per cent have been on the receiving end of “mean or cruel” behaviour online, while 22 per cent have witnessed the same behaviours directed at a classmate or friend.

It also reveals that a quarter of the young people questioned spend between four and six hours online every day, with 53 per cent of children going online in their own room away from their parents’ supervision; 66 per cent go online using their own SmartPhone.

Nearly one in five (19 per cent) of teenagers admit to lying to their parents about what they have been doing online.

The study also interviewed more than 1,000 parents and finds that a third have not spoken to their children about online safety, while 81 per cent have not set parental controls across all internet-enabled devices at home.

Luke Roberts, national co-ordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, said there was currently “no clear leadership” to tackle the growing issue of cyber-bullying.

He explained: “We know that young people are struggling to understand what is appropriate online behaviour and how to keep safe, and that parents are struggling to know how best to protect their children from potentially harmful online experiences.

“Currently there is no clear leadership, no co-ordination and no adequate educational model in place to tackle the growing issue of cyber-bullying. “

The Anti-Bullying Alliance is urging a “national debate” focused on cyber-bullying and involving children, parents, industry, government and educators.

It comes as McAfee and the ABA publish an online resource – Digital Deception: The online behaviour of teens – which gives information on issues relating to cyber-bullying and offers support for parents and children to better protect themselves.

It is accompanied by a series of online videos and can be accessed online at www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk

Anti-Bullying Week 2013 runs until tomorrow (Friday, November 22). For details, visit www.antibullyingweek.co.uk


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