New York, NY — A new poll conducted by global research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds that one in ten parents online (12%) around the world say their child has experienced cyberbullying while one in four (26%) say they know a child in their community who has experienced the same. Of those, a majority (60%) say the children experienced the harrassing behaviour on social networking sites like Facebook. Three quarters (77%) of world residents say cyberbullying needs special attention from parents and schools while a minority (23%) think cyberbullying can be handled through existing anti-bullying measures.
Ipsos surveyed a total of 18,687 citizens in 24 countries via online survey methodology.
The Cyberbullying Phenomena
Cyberbullying is 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 chat room on the Internet, a cellular telephone or another mobile device.
Awareness of cyberbullying is high (66%) among the 24 countries surveyed. Those citizens most aware of cyberbullying are from Indonesia (91%), Australia (87%), Poland (83%), Sweden (82%), the United States (82%) and Germany (81%). However, not all countries have such high levels of awareness. Only three in ten (29%) of those in Saudi Arabia say they have heard of cyberbullying, followed by Russia (35%), China (49%), Turkey (50%), France (53%) and India (53%).
A Unique Challenge
A strong majority (77%) of global citizens say ‘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’. On the other hand, a minority (23%) say ‘cyberbullying is the same behaviour seen in other forms of bullying, just through different technologies, and so it should be addressed through existing anti-bullying measures among parents and schools.’
In fact, a majority of those citizens in each of the 24 countries agree this form of bullying requires special attention. Nearly all of those in Japan (91%) and Indonesia (89%) feel this way as does a strong majority in Spain (84%), Argentina (83%), France (83%) and Italy (83%).
Support is softer in China (57%) and Saudi Arabia (58%), followed at some distance by Brazil (70%), South Africa (71%), Russia (72%) and the United States (72%).
The Parental Perspective
Parents in 24 countries were asked to consider, to the best of their knowledge, if a child in their household or in their community has ever experienced cyberbullying.
One in ten (12%) parents report a child in their household has experienced this form of bullying: ‘once or twice’ (6%), ‘sometimes’ (3%) or ‘on a regular basis’ (3%). Most parents say their children do not suffer from cyberbullying, with three quarters (75%) saying ‘no, never’ and one in ten (14%) saying they don’t know.
Those parents most likely to have children in their households experiencing cyberbullying are from India (32% total ‘yes’), Brazil (20%), Saudi Arabia (18%), Canada (18%) and the United States (15%). Parents in India also report the greatest intensity of cyberbullying: 13% say a child in their home experiences cyberbullying on a regular basis, followed by 10% in Brazil, 5% in the United States and 5% in Argentina. Those least likely to say their children experience cyberbullying to any degree are from Italy (3%), Russia (5%), France (5%), Turkey (5%) and Spain (5%).
A quarter (26%) of parents surveyed report a child in their community has experienced cyberbullying: ‘once or twice’ (11%), ‘sometimes’ (10%) or ‘on a regular basis’ (5%). Regarding children in their community, fully half (50%) say they don’t know and a quarter (24%) say ‘no, never’.
Those parents most likely to know children in their communities experiencing cyberbullying are from Indonesia (53% total ‘yes’), Sweden (51%), India (45%), Australia (35%) and Turkey (35%). The greatest intensity — those saying they know children in their community experiencing cyberbullying ‘on a regular basis’ — is in South Africa, where one in ten (13%) know children who are regularly bullying via information technology. Similarly, 10% in Brazil, 8% in Argentina and 8% in Sweden report this.
Those least likely to say children in their community are experiencing cyberbullying to any degree are from France (10%), Germany (11%), Hungary (11%) and Spain (11%).
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The Role of Social Networking Sites
Parents were asked to think about the kids they know who have experienced cyberbullying, to the best of their knowledge, and report how they experience the harassing behaviour. Six in ten (60%) say it is through social networking site like Facebook while four in ten say cellular telephone or other mobile device (42%) and online chat room (40%). Three in ten say it happens through email (32%) or online instant messaging (32%). Two in ten (20%) say other websites and one in ten (9%) say other forms of technology.
The prevalence of cyberbullying through social networking sites like Facebook is quite high, in fact it is the top source for most of the countries surveyed. In South Africa (63%), Russia (59%), South Korea (48%) and Japan (47%) parents report the primary way kids are being cyberbullied is through their cellular or mobile devices while in China the top media is online chat rooms (83%) and in India it is evenly split between social networking sites (55%) and online chat rooms (54%).
For more information and commentary about this study, please visit the Ipsos Global @dvisor YouTube Channel.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Global @dvisor poll conducted between on behalf of Reuters News. The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 24 countries via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. An international sample of 18,687 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed between November 1 and November 15, 2011. Of those, 6,502 were parents. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis with the exception of Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Russia and Turkey, where each have a sample 500+. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000 and an estimated margin of error of ± 4.5 percentage points for a sample of 500 19 times out of 20 per country of what the results would have been had the entire population of the specifically aged adults in that country been polled.
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