Study: SA has high cy­ber­bul­ly­ing rate

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - BULELWA PAYI

STUD­IES sug­gest many par­ents be­lieve not enough is be­ing done to re­duce the in­ci­dence of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing.

A re­cent Ip­sos Global Ad­vi­sor study was car­ried out in 28 coun­tries in­clud­ing South Africa and found even though aware­ness of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing had in­creased by 9% from 2011, the ma­jor­ity of par­ents be­lieved anti-bul­ly­ing mea­sures taken were in­suf­fi­cient.

The study de­fined cy­ber­bul­ly­ing as 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.

South Africa was re­cently hit by chilling images and videos of chil­dren bul­ly­ing each other, which went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to the study – which was con­ducted on­line and there­fore rep­re­sented the views of those who reg­u­larly had ac­cess to the in­ter­net – South Africa ranked sec­ond-high­est in aware­ness of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing af­ter Swe­den and Italy.

South Africa showed the high­est preva­lence of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing, based on over half of par­ents know­ing a child in their com­mu­nity who suf­fered such abuse. The fig­ure showed an in­creased of 24% from 2011.

Of the South Africans sur­veyed, a quar­ter said their chil­dren had been cy­ber­bul­lied.

“We are a vul­ner­a­ble so­ci­ety and bul­lies ex­ploit the sit­u­a­tion,” said Mari Harris, pub­lic af­fairs head at Ip­sos SA.

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