Quarter of young Brits confess to ‘bullying or insulting’ someone online

26 per cent of the 16-18 year olds have ‘bullied or insulted someone else’ online

Laptop black and whiteDemos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank: an independent, educational charity, which produces original and innovative research. Their new research mapping the behaviour and decision-making of young people online, identifies a shockingly high incidence of hostile online behaviour towards peers – often linked to having previously experienced abuse on social media. Significantly, it highlights the strong relationship between offline and online character and morality in young people.

  • 26 per cent of the 16-18 year olds surveyed say they have ‘bullied or insulted someone else’ online
  • 15 per cent of the young people surveyed said they had ‘joined in with other people to “troll” a celebrity or public figure’
  • Boys are significantly more likely to say they have bullied or insulted someone online than girls (32 per cent compared with 22 per cent) or ‘trolled’ a public figure (22 per cent compared with 10 per cent)
  • 93 per cent of those who said they had insulted or bullied someone else online, said that they had themselves experienced some form of cyber-bullying or abuse
  • Conversely, Demos finds that 88 per cent of the teenagers surveyed had given emotional support to someone online
  • Their analysis finds that young people with stronger traits of empathy and self-control are considerably less likely to engage in cyberbullying.
  • The major new research project, which spanned nine months, involved Demos surveying 668 16-to-18 year olds over Facebook, exploring their online behaviour and responses to various social media scenarios. Demos also held focus groups with 40 teenagers in London and Birmingham, as well as expert roundtables with teachers and other youth work professionals. Demos’ Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) also used innovative methods to analyse the dynamics and contents of ‘trolling’ attacks on Twitter.

    Demos’ focus groups found that young people are often drawn into cyber bullying because they are aware that their friends can see they are being bullied or insulted online, which leaves them compelled to respond in an aggressive way.

    Although the research finds that many young people are attuned to the moral implications of behaviour on social media many young people say they would take no action when they see someone they know being bullied online.

    At the same time, young people also clearly use social media to build friendships and express their beliefs in more positive ways: 88 per cent of the young people surveyed have given emotional support to a friend on social networking sites, and just over half (51 per cent) have posted about ‘a political or social cause that they care about’.

    Social media analysis by Demos looking at the dynamics of ‘trolling’ finds that although social media often facilitates the rapid spread of abuse online, it also gives young people the opportunity to exercise empathy and courage, by coming to the defence of the victim.

    Demos research finds that young people’s character – or the personal traits, values and skills that guide individual conduct – may be significant in determining the extent to which they engage in positive or negative behaviours online. Young people who admit to engaging in risky or unethical behaviour online are, for example, found to demonstrate lower levels of moral sensitivity to others, and have lower self-reported character strengths.

    Certain traits such as empathy, self-control and ‘civic mindedness’, seem particularly closely linked to different types of behaviour. Those with higher levels of empathy and self-control exhibit reduced likelihood of engaging in bullying over social media, while those with high levels of ‘civic mindedness’ are more likely to post about political or social issues.

    Based on the findings of the report, Demos made a number of recommendations, including:

  • The Department for Education should look to rejuvenate the character agenda within Government, through a third round of Character Education Grants, this time focused on developing good character online.
  • The Government should put digital citizenship at the heart of the new Digital Charter, and use its convening power to secure meaningful cross-sectoral collaboration over digital citizenship education.
  • Schools should look to deliver Digital Citizenship education which contains a strong emphasis on the moral implications of online social networking, with a focus on participatory approaches which seek to develop students’ moral and ethical sensitivity.
  • Schools should look to develop school-home links around digital citizenship, supporting parents to close the digital literacy gap and develop effective parental mediation approaches.
  • Commenting on the findings, the report’s author, Peter Harrison-Evans, Researcher at Demos said:
    This research also shows the links between character traits such as empathy and self-control, and how young people think and act on social media. It’s here that we feel policy-makers, schools, and parents can make the biggest difference – empowering young people to make a positive contribution to their online communities by building their social digital skills and increasing their online moral sensitivity.

    Find Out More

    Written by E-safety Support on November 23, 2017 10:44

    All Different. All Equal.

    Let’s celebrate uniqueness in November’s Anti-Bullying Week.

    Anti Bullying Week 2017 LogoIn the school environment, where peer pressure and the desire to be popular still holds fast, education remains as important as ever in developing young people’s social and emotional awareness. This year’s Anti-Bullying Week, which takes place from 13-17 November looks at a very current and poignant topic; diversity. Following the theme ‘All Different, All Equal,’ the week will focus on why our individual human traits should be recognised as a valuable part of who we are.

    The week of activities is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which was founded in 2002 by the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau. Over the years, the organisation has been bolstered by the support of a number of core and associate members who work collaboratively to raise awareness about the impact of bullying. Their aim is to create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn.

    2017 Theme
    This year, the 'All Different, All Equal' theme looks at:

    • How to empower children and young people to celebrate what makes them, and others, unique
    • Helping children and young people understand how important it is that every child feels valued and included in school and able to be themselves without fear of bullying
    • Encouraging parents and carers to work with their school and talk to their children about bullying, difference and equality
    • Enabling teachers and other children’s workforce professionals to celebrate what makes us ‘all different, all equal’ and celebrate difference and equality, encouraging them to take individual and collective action to prevent bullying and create safe environments where children can be themselves.

    How to Get Involved
    The Anti-Bullying Alliance have a number of suggested ways in which you can get involved, including:

    • Official Merchandise: Schools can purchase official Anti-Bullying Week 2017 merchandise via their online shop. Proceeds go to funding Anti-Bullying Week next year.
    • Odd Socks Day: This is an opportunity for children to express themselves and appreciate individuality. But most importantly, Odd Socks Day is designed to be fun!
    • Become a Supported: Sign up as an Anti-Bullying Week supporter and receive a certificate to display in your school/organisation. Join the anti-bullying movement and let people know what you're doing for #antibullyingweek.
    • Get Involved Online: Download the pack to find template tweets, facebooks, selfie ideas and many many more things you can do to get involved in Anti-Bullying Week and Odd Socks Day for Anti-Bullying Week. You can also register for the Thunderclap

    Full details can be found at www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk.

    Download your cyber bullying assembly
    E-safety Support members can download a selection of topical resources including a cyber bullying assembly for either KS1/2 or KS3/4 – log into your member dashboard to download or register for FREE membership for access.

    Anti Bullying Week 2017 Banner

    Written by E-safety Support on November 01, 2017 14:55

    Is bullying getting worse?

    Bullying in schools has always been a problem, but there’s a growing concern that it may be worsening.

    Bullied TeenagerResearch released by TES on 14th September revealed that from over 1000 secondary school teachers interviewed, over half thought that bullying was a problem in their school, with more than a fifth saying that bullying in their school was on the increase. Rather more shockingly, 40 per cent declared they knew of pupils too scared to attend school because of it.

    Teachers also felt they weren’t able combat the problem alone, with an urgent need for it to be tackled on many fronts: from giving children the means and empowerment to report bullying to encouraging parents to take a closer interest in their children’s day-to-day activities.

    New technologies have brought new dangers
    Whilst bullying once took place within the school grounds — where teachers had full visibility of pupil interaction and behaviour — the growth in Smartphone ownership and the use of social media has taken bullying out of public view into a much darker world; one where the perpetrator can remain anonymous and the victim contacted anywhere, day or night.

    Cyber bullying means the torment can now occur undercover and go undetected, leading to tragic consequences. Victims of cyber bullying are more inclined to self-harm and exhibit signs of suicidal behaviours, but surprisingly, so are the perpetrators themselves. A recent study by UK researchers, released in August 2017, found that online bullies are 20 per cent more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to attempt suicide than non-perpetrators. Those who bully online have very complex emotional issues which may include feelings of inadequacy, an inability to socialise in the outside world or feel the desire to hold power over or control another person. In some cases, cyber bullying can be inflicted by a group rather than an individual, with others encouraged to ‘join in’ with the bullying in order for them to become accepted as part of a group or to increase their popularity.

    Sadly, in the majority of schools, cyber bullying is a problem that many teachers are unable to get to grips with. 51 per cent of teachers interviewed in the TES survey said they had not had the training they needed to combat bullying, and with the NSPCC having recorded an 88% increase in calls about cyber bullying in the past 5 years, it’s an area that many schools feel underequipped to manage.

    Plan ahead for Anti-Bullying Week
    The week of activities which will be held in November is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which was founded in 2002 by the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau. Over the years, the organisation has been bolstered by the support of a number of core and associate members who work collaboratively to raise awareness about the impact of bullying. Their aim is to create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn.

    E-safety Support members can download a selection of topical resources including a cyber bullying assembly for either KS1/2 or KS3/4 – log into your member dashboard to download or register for FREE membership for access

    Written by E-safety Support on September 28, 2017 12:55

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