School holidays increase the risk of cyber bullying

Teenagers are at risk of cyber bullying during the summer holidays as they spend more time online, a charity has warned. This is from the Times…

Almost a quarter of 12 to 16-year-olds spend more than five hours a day online during the school holidays, while averaging just over an hour during term time.

Some 20 per cent admitted interacting with strangers online — and 25 per cent said they had witnessed cyber bullying.

For the report, The Online Behavioural Habits of Young People Today, 1,000 children aged between eight and 16 were questioned, along with 1,500 parents.

Teachers fear that cyber bullying is a growing issue, and a study by the NSPCC suggested that more than 40 per cent of children can expect to be victims.

The report suggested that youngsters are not fully aware of the risks, with 80 per cent of 12-16-year- olds saying they felt safe online. A fifth regarded online bullying as a part of life, according to the research conducted by Parentdish, a parenting website, and BeatBullying, a charity.

Emma-Jane Cross, founder of BeatBullying, said: “What’s most worrying is the number of teens who accept being bullied online as part of life, and the fact that many are unaware who they can speak to when they witness bullying online.”

“The summer holidays can be a wonderful break for children and families, but the sheer number of hours that some teenagers spend online every day puts them at risk of cyber-bullying. It’s vital that parents speak to their children about how to enjoy the Internet safely.” Children are most likely to use the internet in their bedrooms, with experts saying this increases the likelihood of getting in to difficulties on the web.

More at:  School holidays increase the risk of cyber bullying (subscription required)

Anyone else shocked at the idea that more than a quarter of 12-16-year olds spend more than five hours a day online in the holidays? Does that put a completely different perspective on the summer?  Let us know what you think in the comments or via twitter…

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