Cyberbullying takes a hit

Stock computer keyboard - online bullying
Stock computer keyboard - online bullying

Online bullying has taken a blow - but more still needs to be done to protect young people from being harassed by their peers.

A survey published by Nottinghamshire County Council to coincide with Safer Internet Day revealed that online bullying among pupils across the county has levelled off and even decreased in some areas.

It’s the latest poll of its type carried out by the local authority into the online behaviour of young people.

The results will be used to inform support provided to young people across Nottinghamshire schools so they can have fun and keep safe online.

Of the total sample surveyed, 21 per cent said they had been cyberbullied, a slight dip from 22 per cent three years ago, despite an overall increase in device ownership.

Council committee chairman for children and young people’s services Councillor John Peck said: “We wanted to find out exactly what was going on in the county in terms of how our young people are behaving online and keep up to date with trends.

“Potentially this figure is good news. However, the findings also show us that there are too many young people who do tell someone what has happened and the situation either remains the same or worsens which highlights the need for greater awareness amongst parents about how they should respond where their children experience online bullying.

“The survey also showed reluctance amongst parents to try to limit their children’s time online with only a little more than half checking games ratings for suitability.”

A recent report from research agency Childwise found that the amount of time children spend online has overtaken that spent watching television for the first time.

The council’s survey results also show that the percentage of students who always follow e-safety guidelines has risen since the previous survey to 62 per cent from 41 per cent, but that any gains seen could be lost if this teaching falls away.

The council’s anti-bullying co-ordinator Lorna Naylor said: “What’s clear is that we need to work with schools and other settings to ensure we keep our messages current and relevant and that e-safety is continually reinforced within the curriculum.”