Dubai: Parents should not downplay the dangers of cyberbullying, with a new study listing depression, nightmares, and anorexia as some of the common consequences of bullying.
According to the study ‘Growing up online- Connected Kids’, conducted by Kaspersky Lab and iconKids & Youth, cyberbullying has proved to be a far more dangerous threat to children than many parents think.
The majority of young victims of online harassment suffer from serious problems with health and socialisation.
The study explained cyberbullying as intentional intimidation, persecution or abuse that children and teenagers may encounter on the internet.
It showed that 13 per cent of children and 21 per cent of parents consider cyberbullying harmless.
Meanwhile, 16 per cent of the children surveyed said they are more afraid of being bullied online than offline, and 50 per cent said they are equally afraid of both real-life and virtual bullying.
“In an effort to protect our children from danger, we mustn’t forget that they not only live in the real world but also in the virtual world, which is just as real to them,” said Andrei Mochola, head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.
She pointed out that while children use the internet to learn new things, socialise, and have fun, they are also subjected to unpleasant situations. “Cyberbullying is one of the most dangerous things that can confront a child on the internet because it can have a negative impact on their psyche and cause problems for the rest of their lives,” said Mochola.
Despite the fact that the study found only four per cent of children admitted to being bullied online (compared to 12 per cent in real life), in seven out of 10 cases the consequences were traumatic.
Cyberbullying seriously affected the children’s emotional well-being. The study showed parents of 37 per cent of the victims reported lower self-esteem, 30 per cent saw a deterioration in their performance at school, and 28 per cent cited depression.
A quarter of the parents also stated that cyberbullying had disrupted their child’s sleep patterns and caused nightmares (21 per cent). Another 26 per cent of parents noticed that their child had started avoiding contact with other children, and 20 per cent discovered their child had anorexia.
“The best solution in this case is to talk to your child and to use parental control software that can alert you to any suspicious changes to their social network page,” said Mochola.
For more advice on protecting children on the internet, visit kids.kaspersky.com.
‘Growing up online- Connected Kids’ study conducted by Kaspersky Lab and iconKids & Youth, showed the consequences of cyberbullying:
- Parents of 37 per cent of the victims reported lower self-esteem
- Parents of 30 per cent of the victims saw a deterioration in their performance at school
- Parents of 28 per cent of the victims cited depression
- Parents of 25 per cent of the victims stated that cyberbullying had disrupted their child’s sleep patterns
- Parents of 21 per cent of victims said it caused nightmares
- Parents of 26 per cent of victims noticed that their child had started avoiding contact with other children
- Parents of 20 per cent of victims discovered their child had anorexia