Kent youth crime survey finds hike in cyber bullying

Online safety Image NSPCC

By Local Democracy Reporter Simon Finlay

The number of young people in Kent who are victims of online bullying has shot up, according to a new survey.

Almost one in three (29%) of the 4,400 who took part in the study said they had suffered cyber abuse, a rise of 18% on five years ago.

The worrying statistics came to light in the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Survey.

The commissioner, Matthew Scott, said he would expand an online harm programme for the county’s schools as a result of the findings.

The survey also revealed 11% of respondents admitted to cyber bullying themselves.

It also discovered 26% of the youngsters had been harassed or picked on as they went to or from school and said they had been frightened by the experience.

Only 53% who had been scared told a parent or guardian and 30% told no-one.

Mr Scott said: “The results of this survey show how important it is to educate young people about online safety and what constitutes healthy relationships and appropriate behaviour

“Of course, we can all fall prey to online scammers, but young people’s lives are dominated by apps and social media and the industry grows and changes all the time. We must arm them with the tools they need to protect themselves.

“We also know that bullying, harassment and abuse can have very severe consequences for young people, and often they’re too afraid or embarrassed to talk about it to parents, friends or teachers.”

As a result of the survey, the commissioner pledged to expand Online Harm and Healthy Relationship school programme, provided by Collaborate Digital.

He added: “Their interactive approach is already proving very popular with children and teachers. The sessions teach young people about appropriate behaviour and gives them advice as to what to do if they’ve experienced abuse. They’ve opened the door to many honest conversations within the classroom and we’re delighted to extend the service.”

Most of the respondents were from Medway (23.7%) followed by Gravesham (16%), Ashford (10%) and Canterbury (8%).

Most used a mobile phone to access the internet with the favourite social media sites being YouTubeSnapchatTikTok and WhatsApp.

Some 43% of the youngsters claimed their parents or guardians know everything they do online. Of those who had been cyberbullied nearly 54% told a parent or guardian and 44% told a friend, but 22% told no one.

Around 90% of those who had been bullied online still used the app where the abuse took place and 56% said they knew the culprit.

The respondents were most active on their mobile devices between 3pm and 11pm, particularly so in the 3-7pm period. More than a quarter admitted to being online before 7am and a similar proportion after 11pm.

The survey revealed 90% of those under 18 now own a mobile phone, up from 76% in 2018.

The website of the children’s protection charity NSPCC says: “Bullying and cyberbullying can happen to any child. We’ve got advice to help keep children safe from bullying, wherever it happens.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place online. Unlike bullying offline, online bullying can follow the child wherever they go, via social networks, gaming and mobile phone.”


    • You to reply apparently.

      What are we angry at? The cyber bullying? Those being bullied? The internet? Yourself?

      I’m prepared to join you in your faux outrage just let me know what triggered you.

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