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1 in 5 Primary School Pupils is Cyber Bullied

Published: 29th January 2010 12:12
Boys on computers
Parents need to get wise to cyber bullying, as study reveals that 1 in 5 primary school pupils have been cyber bullied. 
Primary school children are becoming victims of cyber bullying, and we need to help them protect themselves, according to new research released in November 2009 by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), based at NCB.
A survey* by ABA unveiled for the start of Anti Bullying Week 2009, revealed that one in five (20.5%) of Year 6 primary school pupils surveyed (aged 10 or 11) had been cyber bullied in the past 12 months.
The study also showed 22% of Year 6 pupils did not know how to protect themselves against cyber bullying, and 18% of the 10 and 11 year olds surveyed, have been cyber bullied whilst at home.
More than one third (39%) were ‘not sure' if a parent had ever talked to them about cyber bullying, and the vast majority (61%) said they thought a good way of stopping it would be for parents or carers to know how to deal with it.
The primary school survey showed that 40% of 10 and 11 year olds used social networking sites ‘sometimes' and 19% used them ‘a lot', despite most social networking sites specifying that users need to be 13 or over.
ABA, which is a coalition of more than 60 organisations, runs national Anti-Bullying Week, which starts today (16th November). This year's theme is tackling cyber bullying, under the slogan ‘Stay Safe in Cyberspace'. Today, the charity is highlighting the fact that cyber bullying can happen 24 hours a day, whenever a computer or mobile phone is switched on, meaning children and young people may have no escape.
ABA Chair, Christopher Cloke, said: "Parents and schools need to be aware that cyber bullying is affecting younger age groups as more children get mobile phones and have computer access.
"Nationally we know that around 22% of secondary school pupils have suffered cyber bullying, but until now we did not know younger age groups were also seriously affected. It is crucial that we ensure they know how to stay safe online, and that their parents know how to help them. Clearly more research is needed on this emerging issue."
A further poll of parents of 8-14 year olds for ABA by BMRB** showed that 89% believe cyber bullying is just as serious as other types of bullying, but the majority (54%) had not talked to their child about how they could protect themselves, or deal with cyber bullying, and 45% didn't know about the ‘report abuse' option on social networking sites.
And of the 1163 parents polled, 23% said they allowed children aged 10 or under unsupervised Internet access to a computer at home. A total of 38% of parents had allowed children aged 10 or under to have their own mobile phone.
ABA has offered parents the following tips to help parents protect children/young people and for children and young people themselves:
For Parents:
  • Know which websites your children visit and help them find the ‘report abuse' or ‘block sender' options so they can feel in control
  • Tell your children not to reply to unpleasant messages 
  • Urge them to keep evidence - not to delete bullying texts, emails or posts on social networking sites
  • Make sure they act thoughtfully in cyberspace - comments and photos can stay online forever and texts can be forwarded widely
  • Ensure they protect their password to keep their files and information safe
  • Encourage them to take action and talk to you if they are cyber bullied
For children and young people:

  • Don't give out personal details such as your mobile number, address or email on-line
  • Regularly check and clean your ‘friends' lists on social networking sites
  • Keep evidence - callers and mailers can be traced
  • Find the ‘report abuse' or ‘block sender' options on your favourite websites
  • Remember that sites you've created and emails you've sent can be traced back to you months or years later
  • Protect your password to keep your files and information safe
  • If you are being bullied in any way you must tell someone who can help - a teacher, parent/carer, friend, sister/brother or other relative.
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