In the year ending March 2020, an estimated one out of five young people in England and Wales experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour (19%). This equates to approximately 764,000 children. Online bullying has been increasingly enabled by wider access to the internet and greater use of smartphones, social media and networking applications. By comparison, twice as many children (38%) reported that they had experienced a bullying behaviour in person. A smaller percentage experienced a bullying behaviour by a telephone or mobile phone call (4%). As some children experienced multiple types of bullying behaviour, overall 42% of children aged 10 to 15 years experienced some form of bullying behaviour in the year ending March 2020.
Unfortunately, unlike 'traditional' bullying that took place (and still does) in the playground, cyber and text bullying can continue long after schools have closed their gates.
The internet is great and using a bit of common sense will help to keep you safe. These are our best top tips...
- "ThinkB4UPost" – it sounds like common sense but it's all too easy to come to regret things you write or share online. People can easily misunderstand what you say if you're not careful how you put it.
- People you meet in chat rooms or on social networks may not be telling the truth – are they really who they say they are? You should never share personal information like your address or phone number or arrange to meet without talking to your Carer first.
- If you want to share something private with someone, ask yourself, "Can I really trust them to keep it private?" Once it's gone, you've lost control.
- If you're old enough to use a social networking website, get to know how to use the privacy settings. Think carefully before accepting random friend requests. What information do you want to share and with whom? 'Facebook' now asks you to decide each time you post.
- Cyberbullying is bullying and it hurts. Think twice before you click and send. Have fun but don't offend people. It's easy to forget that jokes don't always work online!
- Your online "footprint" may be impossible to clear away. What does your "footprint" say about you? Could it come back to haunt you? What about when you're looking for a job or applying for a course?
- If you're worried about anything online, tell someone you trust – it may help someone else as well as you. You can also use the CEOP button to report abuse.
You can find more great tips and advice on the 'Thinkuknow' website.
- Net Aware is a website that give advice and ratings on Apps, games and social media sites.
Some advice for children and young people:
- Do not open a message from any name that you do not recognise
- Tell a trusted adult if you keep getting messages from names that you do not recognise
- If the sender is known to you and has sent messages that have upset you in the past - ignore any new messages but tell a trusted adult about it
- Do not share your e-mail with anybody other than those you know very well and can trust
- Do not give personal information - address, telephone, your school or your real name
- Do not send your picture to anyone that you do not know very well
Some advice for pupils, young people and parents:
- Inform the Headteacher, especially if it is discovered that the site has been created by another member of the school community
- If appropriate contact the police.
Some advice for children and young people:
- Do not give your mobile number to anybody other than those you know very well and can trust
- Tell someone else if you are being bullied or receiving harmful / unkind messages - a teacher, parent, peer supporter, trusted adult
- Mobiles and SIM cards can now be bought fairly cheaply - if you get abusive messages, it may be an option to get another phone or SIM card rather than continue to use one that can cause distress. Don't reply to any nasty messages
- Try to keep all of the messages in your phone and take screen shots as it can be used as evidence. If you can't, then note the dates and times and content of text messages
- Inform the Police - first you may want to talk to others you know you can rely on for support. Think about whether you want to talk to a trusted adult, member of your family or a teacher for example. They will be there to offer support for you to approach the Police.
- When you do notify the Police - make sure you have a written record of dates, times and content of messages, especially if you have not been able to store the messages on your phone
- Sending threatening or bullying text messages is a criminal offence that the Police recognise as a crime