The survey questioned 2,000 children aged 8 to 17 and found that 2 in 5 (40 per cent), were actively trying to avoid falling victim to online abuse.
The findings of the survey also highlighted that half of the children who responded admitted to not reporting disturbing content, which they’d come across on the internet. This may be something they’ve read, or a picture they’ve viewed, which made them feel uncomfortable.
1 in 5 (20%) of children claimed that they had not reported content which made them feel uncomfortable, out of fear that a bully may harm them as a result.
1 in 7 claimed they feared that if they spoke out about inappropriate online behaviour or content, they would get into trouble.
However, some children had chosen to consult an adult about what they had seen in the past. Of the children who claimed to have spoken out at some point, 65 per cent talked to their parents.
One of Action for Children’s aims is to educate parents about how to protect their children online. The charity suggests that parents should set rules before their children sign up for a social media account, and that they should also ensure that the child’s profile is set to private. They also suggest that parents should check the age requirements of the site beforehand.
Action for Children also urges parents to have a discussion with their children, about the dangers they should be aware of when they are online. Children should be warned to not share personal information with anybody, and to not speak to strangers online.
Should anything happen, whilst on the internet, which makes a child feel uncomfortable, Action for Children insists that the child should know that they can approach a parent for help.
Head of Child Protection at Action for Children, Deanna Neilson said of the findings: “Online bullying is so prevalent, but we must not lose sight of the fact that many of these children bully others because of something going wrong in their own lives, or being driven to it through fear of being bullied or socially shunned themselves. Low self-esteem, stress at school or being victimised themselves by peers or adults, are all reasons a child might act out on others.
“It’s important for parents to ask children about the day they’ve had online, just as they ask about the day they’ve had at school – whether your child is being bullied or bullying others, the problem, and any potentially more severe issues surrounding it, must be addressed.”