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Youths 'worried' over cyberbullying, not getting help

About 54 percent of youths aged 8 to 17 concerned about online bullying, but few parents and schools taking steps to help them protect themselves online, global survey finds.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor on

Youths worldwide are concerned about cyberbullying but parents and schools are not doing enough to help them cope with it, a Microsoft study has revealed.

According to the survey released Monday, 54 percent of children were very or somewhat worried about online bullying, and 86 percent admitted being bullied online and offline--athough most of the bullying had taken place offline. The survey was conducted online from Jan. 11 to Feb. 19 this year in 25 countries including China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, polling more than 7,600 children aged 8 to 17. It examined a range of online behavior among youths, from "meanness" to online bullying or cruelty.

On average, across the countries, 37 percent of respondents stated they had been subjected to a range of online acitivities which some considered to be online bullying or to have adverse effects. Some 19 percent said they experienced "mean or unfriendly" treatment, 20 percent said they had been "made fun of or teased", and 18 percent admitted to being called mean names.

Delving into demographics, it was uncovered that girls were more likely ot be bullied online, at 55 percent, and be more worried about online bullying, at 57 percent. Children aged 13 to 17 were also more likely to be bullied online, at 43 percent, but were more knowledgeable about online bullying and had been taught about the risks of being online at 69 percent and 51 percent, respectively.

Respondents also indicated desire to talk to a parent about the issue, but only 29 percent of them stated their parents had discuss with them steps to protect themselves online.

According to the survey, 39 percent of respondents' parents taught them online manners and 30 percent asked if they had been bullied online. Only half of respondents indicated their parents had talked about online risks with them, and 44 percent said their parents monitored their computer usage.

Similarly, in terms of school policy and education, only 23 percent said their schools had formal policies which addressed online bullying and 37 percent provided education on online bullying.

"Kids need to know that they can turn to a trusted adult, such as a parent, caregiver or teacher, who will talk to them about all kinds of online safety concerns," Jacqueline Beauchere, director of Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft, said in a statement. 

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