One in seven children admit to bullying online

Posted by / Tuesday 10 February 2015 /

One in seven (15%) children has bullied others online, according to a survey published by Action for Children today.

Nearly 60% of children responded that they bullied to fit in with a certain social group. The survey, which asked 2,000 eight to 17 year olds about their activity online, also revealed over 40% did so to prevent being targeted themselves.

Deanna Neilson, Action for Children Head of Child Protection, said: “It’s shocking that 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.”


Action for Children’s survey also revealed that nearly 50% of children did not tell anyone when they read or saw something online that made them feel uncomfortable. One in five said they didn’t say anything for fear of what a bully might do to them, while one in seven said they worried they would get in trouble if they said anything.

Of those who did talk to somebody, nearly 65% went to their parents.

“Parents need to be open to discussions about children’s worries online, and the best way to make yourself approachable is to talk to them about their activity at all times – not just when you’re concerned” Deanna continued.

Top tips for parents to help their children stay safe online:

  • Discuss and agree parameters before your child joins a social networking site. Check the minimum age requirements.
  • Consider whether a trusted adult should be added as a ‘friend’ and ensure your child has a ‘private’ profile.
  • Talk about the potential dangers of sharing personal data.
  • Remind your child that the same rules about bullying and stranger danger apply online as they do in public places and at school.
  • Ensure your child knows how to report and block people online.
  • Tell them they can talk to you about anything that upsets or worries them online – you’re on their side.

Action for Children commissioned OnePoll to survey 2,000 children aged eight to 17 about their activity online. 2,000 children responded to the questions.

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