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Online Bullying Top Concern among Youth: Survey

More than half (54 percent) of children around the world worry about being bullied online, according to a new Global Youth Online Behavior Survey released Tuesday by Microsoft Corp.

Conducted in 25 countries Jan. 11, 2012, to Feb. 19, 2012, among more than 7,600 children ages eight to 17, the survey focuses on how kids are treating one another online and whether parents are addressing online behaviors.

Recently, a children’s television show hosted a panel of anti-bullying experts, which included a representative from nonprofit Committee for Children, creators of the Steps to Respect bullying prevention curriculum that recently showed positive effects on bullying behaviors in a randomized controlled trial. (Read: Anti-Bullying Discussion at Sesame Workshop)

Earlier, with the help of singer and songwriter Ne-Yo, Cartoon Network, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) decided to distribute over 4,000 Bullying Prevention Kits to Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. (Read: Cartoon Network Campaign to Stop Bullying)

Microsoft commissioned the survey looking at a range of online behaviors among youth — from “meanness” (least severe) to online bullying or cruelty (most severe).

[ Also Read: How to Protect Kids from Perils of Social Networking ]

Globally, the survey found the following:

  • Four in 10 children surveyed (ages 8 to 17) say they have experienced what adults might consider online bullying.
  • Twenty-four percent of children surveyed say they have done something parents would consider online bullying.
  • Five percent of parents engage with their children’s school about online bullying, according to the children surveyed.

The survey also uncovered that children want to talk to parents about the issue, but only 29 percent of kids say their parents have talked to them about protecting themselves online.

[ Also Read: Leaders Join Hands for Online Safety of Youth ]

What’s more, according to the results, there is not one common step taken by parents to address the problem, with only 17 percent having communicated a clear set of rules for negative online behaviors.

“Kids need to know that they can turn to a trusted adult, such as a parent, caregiver or teacher, who will talk to them about all kinds of online safety concerns,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, director, Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we help empower adults with the productive tools and resources to help start the conversation with kids about how to stay safer online.”

[ Also Read: Say No to Texting While Driving: Kasey Kahne ]

In conjunction with the survey results, Microsoft is also releasing two additional resources:

Stand Up To Online Bullying Quiz. This interactive online quiz can be downloaded onto an organization’s or school’s website as a teaching tool. It is designed to walk adults through a series of scenarios in which, upon answering, the quiz delivers immediate guidance on how to talk about, identify and respond to the range of online behaviors from online meanness to bullying and beyond.

Digital Citizenship in Action Toolkit. Kids mirror adult behavior — the good, the bad and the ugly. This interactive educational guide helps teach users how to foster responsible use of technology in today’s digital world.

Microsoft made this announcement Tuesday, June 26.

Photo courtesy: Microsoft

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