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Online Safety: further information


Statistics of online abuse

According to the Office of National Statistics states around one in five children aged 10 to 15 years in England and Wales (19%) experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour in the year ending March 2020, equivalent to 764,000 children.

Being called names, sworn at or insulted and having nasty messages about them sent to them were the two most common online bullying behaviour types, experienced by 10% of all children aged 10 to 15 years.

Nearly three out of four children (72%) who had experienced an online bullying behaviour experienced at least some of it at school or during school time.

The most common specific types of cyberbullying 10-15 year olds experience include:

Any online bullying behaviour 18.7
Someone called you names swore at you or insulted you 10.5
Nasty messages about you were sent to you 10.1
You were left out or excluded from a group or activity on purpose 6.1
Rumours were spread about you 5.3
Nasty messages about you were passed around or posted where others could see 3.3
Threatened you on purpose 2.1
Made or tried to make you give them money or other things 0.4
Other nasty things happened to you 1.9

Online abuse experiences when using popular APPs

A study from the UK anti-bullying organisation Ditch the Label found of the young adults surveyed had experienced cyber bullying:

  • 42% Instagram  
  • 37% on Facebook
  • 31% on Snapchat 
  • 9% on Twitter

Based on survey data, including previously unseen analyses from the Oxford Internet Survey about adult online abuse in the UK in 2019:

  • between 30-40% of people have seen online abuse
  • approximately 20% of people have personally been targeted by abusive content online

Online risks can be categorised under the 3C’s.  

Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material, for example:

  • Sexual imagery and content
  • Violent content
  • Extreme content or opinions expressed
  • Biased or skewed content
  • Inappropriate advertising
  • Scams

Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users, for example:

  • Being bullied or harassed including stalking and trolling
  • Personal information can be copied and shared
  • Being groomed and coerced into sharing sexual content
  • Pressured into a behaviour which may cause the young person or vulnerable adult to harm themselves

Conduct: one’s own personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm to others for example:

  • Sharing explicit sexual material
  • Bullying or harassing another person
  • Downloading music or films illegally
  • Providing biased or misleading information and advice
  • Gambling
  • Designing online financial scams
  • Hacking into accounts

How risks can be managed

Things which need to be in place include:

  • ensuring there is open communication between the child or young person and their parents or carers;
  • ensuring privacy controls are in place on all of their devices, mobiles, tablets, kindles, laptops and the television.  Empowering children to report, delete or block inappropriate sites or images;
  • ensuring the young people support each other;
  • talking to the children and young people about what they are doing online, regularly checking their devices to ensure they are using them appropriately.

However, it is important that children and young people are given time to use the internet and have the confidence to manage risks appropriately.

Similarly, it is vital that adults, especially vulnerable adults, are protected and measures which should be in place include:

  • ensuring all passwords are strong;
  • installing security software on all devices;
  • protecting wireless network so no-one living nearby cannot access it;
  • keeping all devices updated;
  • not opening attachments unless it is from a trusted source;
  • consider what information you share in profiles;
  • watch out for scams and phishing;
  • keep a watch on all your accounts;
  • immediately report identity theft;
  • think carefully before posting photographs;
  • checking a company’s privacy policy before purchasing things online.OP