Almost half of British parents worry – on a daily basis – about their child being bullied online, according to research. A study of 2,000 mums and dads, of kids aged five to 18, uncovered alarming findings regarding online bullying, and its impact on child safety.
Almost a quarter (24 percent) admitted their child has been bullied either online or in real life – and, of those, 70 percent of children suffered at least three instances of bullying.
When asked how their child handled being bullied, 35 percent of parents admitted their child hid their feelings from them, while 29 percent stopped going to school, and 28 percent stopped seeing their friends.
According to the study, commissioned by Find My Kids, which sought to understand how parents are tackling bullying in the digital age, 48 percent expressed concerns about their child’s online safety.
More than a quarter (28 percent) of children were found to use apps such as Tiktok, Roblox, or Instagram on a daily basis, while the same percentage engaged with these platforms multiple times a week.
The potential risks of these apps were often overlooked by parents, though, as 38 percent admitted they were unaware of the online bullying risks which could occur while their child was using them.
And while a portion of parents reported having regular conversations with their children about online bullying, 39 percent said such discussions were infrequent.
Shockingly, seven percent of parents confessed to not having discussed online bullying at all.
The study, conducted via OnePoll, also delved into parental awareness of the signs of online bullying – as only 22 percent felt that they could confidently recognise the signs of bullying.
And while 81 percent of parents believed their child would inform them if they were a victim of bullying, 19 percent admitted they were unsure whether their child would speak to them.
Vadikh Giniatulin, CEO of Find My Kids, said: “We understand that recognising the signs of online bullying can be challenging for parents.
“That’s why we allow parents to be aware of which apps their children are using and for how long, so that they can connect with their kids and have an open discussion about risks.”
In terms of preventive measures, the study found a significant number of parents had taken steps to protect their children from online bullying.
Nearly half (45 percent) have implemented multiple different measures to ensure their child was safe online – however, 22 percent had not taken any steps, due to lack of knowledge or a perceived lack of concern.
Of those who did act, 48 percent actively listened and offered support to their children.
Taking it a step further, 39 percent restricted or monitored online activities, and 27 percent involved the school or relevant authorities.
However, 21 percent admitted they would simply let their child handle their own bullying issues, instead of getting involved.
The study also found 38 percent of parents were unsure about the potential impact of online bullying on their child’s safety in real life.
And 53 percent admitted they were more concerned about bullying at their child’s school than online.
However, the impact bullying has on parents is significant, with 16 percent admitting to feeling helpless, while 29 percent have felt anger.
Vadikh Giniatulin added: “Our mission at Find My Kids is to raise awareness around children’s safety in the digital world, and equip parents with the necessary tools and resources to ensure their children’s safety in real life too.
“We are committed to empowering parents and providing them with the support they need to protect their children from such harmful experiences.”