Half of parents know their child has been cyberbullied, but they can’t stop it

Parents struggle to keep up with all the online channels their kids may use and feel they have little access to what their kids are doing because of passwords.

Nearly half of parents believe they have little access to what their children are doing online
Nearly half of parents believe they have little access to what their children are doing online

Millions of parents feel powerless to protect their children online despite the fact that 48% of them know their child has been bullied online at some point.

A study of 1,400 parents with children aged 6 to 18 found that 57% know little about how to keep their children safe, with a third of them admitting they are not that tech-savvy.

And 47% have limited access to what their child is doing online due to locked phones and console passwords.

More than half (55%) of parents who feel powerless are unable to follow all the online channels their child may be using.

The study, commissioned by The Diana Award, was released after a private reception was held in Downing Street with the charity’s ambassadors. Rio FerdinandUK Ambassador for Youth Mental Health at the Department of Education, Dr. Alex Georgeand young anti-bullying ambassadors trained by the charity.

The meeting with number 10 took place as the Internet Security Bill passes through Parliament.

But bullying is still more common in the real world than online, although one in five experiences both types of bullying.


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According to the study, 46% of parents fear that their child knows more about technology than older family members and may hide problems.

Of the children surveyed, more than half (58%) would not tell their parents if someone was trying to bully them online.

And 45% are not sure that their parents will be able to help them anyway.

Diana Award spokesman Alex Holmes said: “The online element of modern life can make bullying much more difficult.

“When many of today’s parents were young, bullying – albeit horrific – took place outside or at school.

“Now the safe space that was home is also increasingly under threat in today’s ever-connected world, especially where lockdowns and school closures have contributed to more and more intimidation infiltrating online life.”

The study also found that 54% of parents are aware that they may be part of the problem by sharing something online that could be construed as bullying or insulting that their children can easily see.

And of those, six out of ten fear that their child might repeat something to another child that they have written or shared online.

However, two-thirds of parents (67%) were confident that their children would turn to them if they were bullied online.

This comes after one in three children (32%) said they are more likely to make contact with a website moderator or someone in charge of the game if they encounter online trolls.

More than one in five (22%) would try to find a way to “revenge” their aggressor, but 23% would ignore what was said and would no longer go online.

A quarter of young people have experienced unkind messages on messaging apps like WhatsApp or Discord.


Damien Meyer / AFP / Getty Images)

However, the results showed that bullying in real life is more common than in the digital space, as 31% of the young people surveyed had had problems with someone in the real world.

This is compared to 17% who have only experienced cyberbullying and 19% have experienced both.

Teenagers also stated that the most likely place they would see bullying is in the classroom by other students (31%).

However, according to OnePoll, 21% believe they have seen bullying tactics used at school by teachers themselves.

And one in four (26%) have witnessed malevolent behavior on messaging platforms such as whatsapp and Discord.

To date, over 40,000 young people have been trained as anti-bullying ambassadors in nearly 5,000 schools across the UK and Ireland through The Diana Award, which aims to combat bullying and empower young people to make a difference.

Alex Holmes added: “Our results show that dealing with bullying can be a daunting task for parents, but it is important for them to understand their role in their child’s safety and not let things get hushed up.

“We encourage communication to not only rely on the child being open, but to move both ways, with honest dialogue about acceptable forms of communication both in real life and online.

“If you don’t know where to start, schools, parents and children can sign up for our Don’t Face It Alone campaign for free anti-bullying resources, help and support for all bullying behaviors. We are here to help eradicate this.”

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