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ONLINE SEARCHES FOR CYBERBULLYING SOAR BY EIGHT TIMES IN MONTH OF OCTOBER

 

 cyberbullying

 

● Internet Matters launches powerful ad campaign to help parents deal with cyberbullying at time of the year it is most prevalent
● Three in five parents 'concerned' about the risks of cyberbullying and one in 10 say their children have been involved in a cyberbullying incident
● New resource centre for parents launched on what to do if your child is a victim of online bullying
● Psychologist and TV presenter Dr Linda Papadopoulos gives advice on the signs parents need to look out for

September 2016. Not-for-profit organisation Internet Matters today launches a hard-hitting campaign to highlight the changing face of bullying in the digital age – and how parents' advice should also shift with the times.

It comes at a peak time of the year for the issue - with eight times as many Google searches for 'cyberbullying' when children are back at school compared to July and August.

Figures peak specifically in October, with more than double the amount of searches for the term 'cyberbullying' compared to an average month.*

And new research of 1,500 parents, conducted by Internet Matters, reveals 62% of parents are 'concerned' about cyberbullying – making it just as much of a worry as online grooming and sexting.**

Nearly one in 10 (9%) parents polled said their children had been involved in a cyberbullying incident.

Despite the widespread concern about the topic, 32% said they had yet to talk to their children about it.

A compelling video which runs alongside the campaign plays on the phrase 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me', focusing on a distressed schoolboy alone in his bedroom, as his phone repeatedly flashes up with hurtful messages from bullies.

Psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, an ambassador for the campaign, says that victims of cyberbullying can find it hard to open up to their parents.

Dr. Papadopoulos said: "Bullying is not confined to the school playground any more. The digital age means it can follow you home and can be just as hurtful as physical bullying. Sometimes children don't want to talk about what is happening to them online. They may feel helpless or worry their parents will take away their phones or ban them from using tech. It's vital that parents learn how to pick up the signs, especially at this time of the year when there is a rise in the number of people seeking information about the issue."

Internet Matters has worked with the Anti-Bullying Alliance to bring together comprehensive new information, guidance and resources for parents on its website, available at internetmatters.org/cyberbullying.

The website offers help on how to protect children from cyberbullying, by learning how it might affect them and, in particular, the signs to watch out for. There is advice on how to talk about cyberbullying with your child, technical tools you can use to help manage any potential risks and cyberbullying terms to look out for [see below].

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters, said: "This time of the year can create a perfect storm for cyberbullying. Many children may be getting their first smartphone as they start at a new school and find a wider network of friends online.

"Connecting with friends on social media and online can be liberating and empowering for children, which makes cyberbullying all the more impactful.

"We have worked with the leading bullying experts in the country to produce advice with resources to help parents understand the issues and steps they can take."

* Google metrics data 2015 showing total number of UK searches in English of 'cyberbullying' in 2015.


Total number of searches for 'cyberbullying' in July and August combined: 17,500.
Total number of searches for 'cyberbullying' in September and October combined: 134,500.
Total number of searches for 'cyberbullying' in October: 74,000
Total monthly average: 33,100

** Survey of 1,500 parents by Opinion Leader on behalf of Internet Matters - September 2016

About Internet Matters

Internet Matters (internetmatters.org) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which aims
to help parents keep their children safe online. It was founded by the UK's four major broadband providers; BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, with the BBC and Google joining as
partners in 2016. Internet Matters is an Executive Member of UKCCIS (UK Council for Child Internet Safety) and an industry expert working with The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, founded by the Duke of Cambridge.
It was awarded a grant from the Department for Education, supporting anti-bullying app tootoot, to help combat bullying in schools.

What to do if your child is being cyberbullied


1. Talk about it – find the right time to approach you child if you think they're being bullied
2. Show your support – be calm and considered and tell them how you'll help them get through it
3. Don't stop them going online – taking away their devices or restricting usage might make things worse and make your child feel more isolated
4. Help them to deal with it themselves – if it's among school friends, advise them to tell the person how it made them feel and ask to take any comments or pictures down
5. Don't retaliate – getting angry won't help, advise your child not to respond to abusive messages and leave conversations if they're uncomfortable
6. Block the bullies – if the messages are repeated block and report the sender to the social network or gaming platform
7. Keep the evidence – take screenshots in case you need them later as proof of what's happened
8. Don't deal with it alone – talk to friends for support and if necessary your child's school who will have an anti-bullying policy

Cyberbullying terms

Catfishing - stealing someone's profile or setting up fake profiles to lure people into starting online relationships
Cyberstalking – sending repeated and frequent messages that include real threats of physical harm
Dissing - sending or posting information that's intended to damage someone's reputation
Flaming - sending angry, abusive online messages to intentionally provoke someone into starting an argument
Fraping – logging into someone else's account, impersonating them or posting inappropriate content in their name
Griefing - abusing and angering people through online gaming
Roasting - ganging up on an individual online and sending offensive abuse until the victim is seen to 'crack'.

 

Credit: Internet Matters is a not-for-profit organisation, backed by BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin, Google and the BBC, that has compiled new guidance, comprehensive information and resources for parents, available to download on www.internetmatters.org/cyberbulling