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June 14, 2012

One in four British primary school children are bullied online

Research shows that unmonitored use of technology at increasingly early ages is a key problem with cyber bullying amongst children.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

online bullying
Photo Credit: Photark

According to a report commissioned by Nominet Trust, online gaming has became a prominent source of cyberbullying for the first time, with 27% of British primary school students experiencing bullying while playing games online.

Young children who are signing up to play online are continuously becoming victims of abuse and harassment.

"Bullying behaviour is migrating into the game play world and we need to move quickly to tackle behavioural issues before this escalates even further," says Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of BeatBullying.

Most online games which children play nowadays have a social aspect to them. Games attract hundreds of thousands of young people a week and their conversations and interactions may, in some instances, be unregulated by the gaming provider. This makes them extremely vulnerable."

The research shows that unmonitored use of technology at an early age is one of the main problems with online bullying.

Almost 62% of children aged 8-11 have their own phone, personal computer, tablet, or gaming device that connects to the internet.

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Nearly 75% of children under 11 use mobile phones and internet for mostly playing games online.

"Our report highlights the absence of parental responsibility in children’s e-safety and behaviour online," says Cross. "As it’s often difficult to supervise a child who goes online from multiple locations, the key should be for parents to teach children what is appropriate and what is safe when they are online. Should they get into trouble, teach them what they can do and where to go."

Nearly 50% of children surveyed said they felt schools should teach them more about how to protect themselves from online bullying. Another 34% said they wanted parents and teachers to learn more about cyber bullying in order to properly teach about protecting themselves from online harassment.

Some children found it daunting to report abuse they experience online with some saying website procedures are too difficult to follow.

"It seems no area of the internet is safe from cyber bullying," says Cross. "Whilst BeatBullying supports the view that parents should be required to make an ‘active choice’ on the technological controls available to them, we think a different approach is also needed; one focused on educating young people, parents and tackling the root of bullying behaviours."

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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