Young people fear safeguards against cyber-bullying are not enough

Nearly half of young people believe current initiatives to tackle cyber-bullying are insufficient, research from the Diana Award has found. By Janaki Mahadevan. Children & Young People Now

The poll of 1,512 young people across England found that 78 per cent of young people fear cyber-bullying will continue to rise with four in 10 young people reporting to have been affected by phenomenon.

Commissioned by the Diana Award, with the support of the Children’s Research Centre at the Open University, the survey also found that abusive emails and text messages were the most prominent forms of cyber-bullying, while older teenagers were at greater risk of more aggressive behaviour, including incidences of death threats, computer viruses and explicit images.

Mary Kellett, professor of childhood and youth and director of the Children’s Research Centre, said: “This youth-led report demonstrates the impact that cyber-bullying is having on young people’s lives, the pace at which it reinvents itself and the inadequacy of current measures to contain it.

“This is no longer an acceptable situation. Politicians and childhood professionals, entrusted with the guardianship of our young people, must take note of its findings and take some bold steps to tackle the issues.”

The report recommends that the government should ringfence funds for sustained anti-bullying work within communities and that charities and education establishments be supported to provide skills training and support for young people to lead age-specific intervention programmes.

The government is also urged to lead a commitment to create one central anti-bullying resource and encourage internet and mobile phone providers to provide accessible cyber-safeguards, including improved safety features, more regulation, codes of conduct and to work with parents to achieve this.

Maggie Turner, chief executive of the Diana Award, said: “This report clearly identifies the shocking and increasing numbers of young people affected by cyber-bullying. These findings plainly evidence that funding and improved safeguards are still needed to better protect our children in society.”

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