One in three parents globally report knowing a child in their community that is the victim of cyberbullying; majorities in every country feel existing anti-bullying measures are insufficient when it comes to handling cyberbullying.
Ipsos’ recent Global Advisor study, carried out in 28 countries, finds that awareness of cyberbullying is increasing globally, up 9 percentage points from 2011. Though global awareness of cyberbullying is high (75%), one quarter of adults have still never heard of it. Awareness is highest in Sweden and Italy (91% each) and lowest in Saudi Arabia (37%). Italy has seen the greatest increase in awareness of cyberbullying, from 57% aware in 2011 to 91% now. The United States also has high awareness (85%), though the level of awareness is relatively unchanged since 2011 (82%).
The percentage of parents who report having a child or knowing a child in their community who has experienced cyberbullying has increased globally since 2011. One in three parents worldwide (33%) report knowing a child in their community who had been cyberbullied, up from 26% in 2011. Among the countries surveyed, South Africa shows the highest prevalence of cyberbullying, based on a majority (54%) of South African parents who know of a child in their community who has been the victim of cyberbullying, up 24 percentage points from 2011. Parents in Japan (5%) and Russia (8%) are least likely to report knowing a child in their community who had been cyberbullied.
Globally, 17% say their own child has experienced cyberbullying. This number is on the rise, namely in South Africa (up from 10% in 2011 to 25% now) and Turkey (up from 5% in 2011 to 19% now). The United States has also seen a significant uptick in parents reporting their child has been cyberbullied, up to 27% this year from 15% in 2011.
“One in six parents globally report having a child who has been cyberbullied. In the US, that number is even higher with one in four parents reporting that their own child has been cyberbullied,” says Mallory Newall, Director, Ipsos. “One explanation for this could be the increasing use of social media among youth.”
Two-thirds (65%) of parents of a child who has been cyberbullied or those who know of a child in their community who had been cyberbullied report the harassing behavior takes place on social networking sites. Regionally, Latin America experiences the highest amount of cyberbullying on social media platforms (76%) compared to APAC which is the lowest (53%). Across the board, 51% globally reported that cyberbullying is done by a classmate of the child who was bullied. In North America this number is the highest (65%), and in the Middle East/Africa (39%) it is the lowest.
The study defines cyberbullying as when a child or group of children (under the age of 18) intentionally intimidate, offend, threaten, or embarrass another child or group of children, specifically through the use of information technology, such as a website or chatroom on the Internet, a cellular telephone, or another mobile device. Globally, a majority of adults (76%) feel that cyberbullying is a fundamentally different type of bullying that needs special attention from parents and schools, in addition to existing efforts to address bullying in general.