Irish kids experience cyberbullying – survey. Why does that matter?

Irish kids experience cyberbullying – survey. Why does that matter?
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:

As per a study from the internet safety charity CyberSafeKids, 40% of secondary school students and more than a quarter of primary school students have experienced cyberbullying.

What is Cyberbullying?

Bullying committed online is known as cyberbullying. It can happen on social media, chat services, gaming platforms, and mobile devices. It is a pattern of behaviour meant to frighten, infuriate, or embarrass those who are the target. Examples comprise:

  1. Spreading false information or publishing someone else's embarrassing images or videos on social media
  2. Using messaging apps to send offensive, threatening, or abusive messages, photos, or videos.
  3. Using a false identity to send obscene communications to others on that person's behalf.

Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. However, cyberbullying leaves a digital trail—a record that may be helpful and offer proof to put an end to the abuse.

Girls are more likely to experience online bullying than boys, with frequent reported behaviours including posting images without permission, making bogus profiles, and getting kicked out of chat rooms.

Over 5,000 children aged eight to sixteen were polled by CyberSafeKids between September 2022 and June 2023.

According to the report, 93% of eight to twelve-year-olds use a smartphone, with YouTube being the most widely used app, followed by WhatsApp, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Nearly 75% of 12 to 16-year-olds claimed to have unlimited online access, and 40% posted videos of themselves on social media.

Parents have more influence over their children's online behaviour when they are younger, but 31% of 8 to 12 year old say they are free to use the internet whenever they want, and 15% of primary school students say there are no restrictions on it at home.

More than a quarter of all the kids surveyed had seen or experienced something online in the previous year that "bothered" them, like sexual or violent content, but only about half of younger kids told a parent or other trusted adult about it; this number rose to 67% for kids in secondary school.

As per the survey, nearly two-thirds of teachers reported dealing with internet safety incidents in the previous year.