Online bullying affects 35% of children


Forty per cent of children have been bullied online, according to research by internet security firm, McAfee, which polled 2000 UK children and 2000 parents.

The figure has doubled in a year with 35 per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds getting abuse on the internet.

The research also suggests that thousands of teenagers, including under-16s, use disappearing message service Snapchat and dating app Tinder every day.

The research indicated increasing numbers of parents have a more relaxed attitude to the risks online.

Only 27 per cent of parents said they were worried about their child being the victim of cyber-bullying this year – almost halving from 45 per cent a year ago. And 67 per cent of children are allowed to go online without supervision, up from 53 per cent.

But 77 per cent of parents said they had conversations about online safety, up from 68 per cent last year.

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, said: “There is a real gap between parental concern and the reality of what children face.

“While it is encouraging to see that these talks are happening, there are areas in which parents may not be completely aware of their children’s online behaviour.

“It’s time for parents to become more educated on social platforms, what ages they are suited for and the behaviour they encourage.

“Cyber-bullying happens across all platforms.”

One in six youngsters – 17 per cent – used Tinder every day. Almost half of them were 15 and under.

Tinder users are shown other subscribers close to their location. They tick those they like and must get one back in order to start communicating.

It is open to those who are 13 or older, with under-18s only able to match with people in their age bracket.

Phippen said: “It is very concerning to see younger teens using apps like Tinder, whose aim is hook-ups and dating – and very much for an adult audience.

“These apps can be used as platforms for grooming and abuse.”

Thirty-seven per cent of children used Snapchat. Explicit images have been hacked from the app.

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