Cyber bullying a global problem - poll

2012-01-12 08:49

New York - More than 10% of parents around the world say their child has been cyber bullied and nearly one-fourth know a youngster who has been a victim, according to a new poll.

And more than three-quarters of people questioned in the global survey thought cyber bullying differed from other types of harassment and warranted special attention and efforts from parents and schools.

"The data clearly shows an appetite among global citizens for a targeted response to cyber bullying," said Keren Gottfried, of the global research firm Ipsos, which conducted the poll.

But, she added, whether or not schools live up to this mandate is in the hands of educators.

The online poll of more than 18 000 adults in 24 countries, 6 500 of whom were parents, showed the most widely reported vehicle for cyber bullying was social networking sites likes Facebook, which were cited by 60%.


Mobile devices and online chat rooms were a distant second and third, each around 40%.

While the report showed that awareness of cyber bullying was relatively high, with two-thirds saying they heard, read or had seen information on the phenomenon, cultural and geographic differences abounded.

In Indonesia, 91% said they knew about cyber bullying, in which a child, group of children or younger teen intentionally intimidates, threatens or embarrasses another child or group through the use of information technology such as social media or mobile devices.

Australia followed at 87%, while Poland and Sweden trailed slightly behind. But only 29% in Saudi Arabia, and 35% in Russia, had heard of cyber bullying.

In the US, where cases of cyber bullying have been widely reported to have been linked to teen suicides, the figure was 82%.

Gottfried described the survey as the first global study of its kind and a benchmark to where assessments of cyber bullying vary.

"The key to this study is that it measures parental awareness of cyber bullying, not actual rates of the behaviour," she said.

"While we can't speculate on what actually happens, it is quite possible that the proportion of children actually being cyber bullied is in fact understated, since we are speaking with the parents, not the kids."

In India 32% of parents said their child had experienced cyber bullying, followed by 20% in Brazil and 18% in Canada and Saudi Arabia and 15% in the US.

The highest incidence of people knowing of a child in the community being targeted was in Indonesia, with 53%. But only 14% there said their child had been cyber bullied - less than in Canada, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the US.

Overall, parents in France and Spain reported some of the lowest incidence of cyber bullying either of their own child or one in their community.

Gottfried said that future studies could show whether there was a trend toward greater awareness of cyber bullying, and shed some light on what affects parental awareness.

  • JakesLR - 2012-01-12 09:55

    Ag shame, it is so sad. The things we put our kids through, Cyber bullying. Poor kids - 2012-01-18 13:03

      Children should not have profiles on social networks. They will be traumatised by the faceless bullies. And infact it is every parent's responsibility to block the sites your child views. No fancy cell phone- a simple phone where u can sms and call because they will even have access to porn if ure not careful.

      John - 2012-02-23 10:21

      @Yola Never seen more profanity in a post like that before. Social Networks (aka IT Based) are just another form of communication. Please don't tell me that a simple GSM phone and/or SMS is not another form of socialising or communication. Blocking access to certain media will create another form of communication and/or socialising. I didn't had mobile phone and computer at my school age, but bullies were existent. Doesn't matter what tool and/or method will be used if PARENTING IS WRONG OR NON-EXISTENT. As per your opinion maybe we need to ban pencils at school, becouse someone can poke another in the eye?

  • Mary - 2012-01-12 10:56

    Children should have real life friends, and keep off social networks.

      Phoenix - 2012-01-12 14:35

      Oh please. Friends on social networks ARE real friends. Do you think it is just a computer on the other side? This is such an uninformed statement.

      Mary - 2012-01-12 14:43

      Phoenix, you don't have much of a life, do you?

      Abram - 2012-01-12 15:40

      At least give a reason to support a statement like that. Social networks are a tool that is intended for users to stay in touch with old friends and meet new (REAL... yes ... they exist in real life) people. The real failure here lies in the fact that people still feel detached from what they do on the internet and believe they are not accountable. But as Pheonix said there is cold hard evidence by which they can be punished incredibly easily by law. Awareness is the key, not fear of the concept.

  • jason.dutoit - 2012-01-12 12:19

    it's called teasing. the medium is immaterial. cyber bullying is pretty much the same thing as being picked on at school. there was emotional trauma to children (due to teasing) before social netowrks existed. the problem is not the online presence, the problem is the poor behaviour of the bullies. however, social media does make it easier to hound an individual in their "off-time" at home.

      Phoenix - 2012-01-12 14:58

      BUT it makes it easier to hold individuals accountable. If you say something on a playground it is your word against the offender - if it is electronic there is a record of it.

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