A third of parents believe their own children could be bullying others online, a survey on cyber-bullying has shown.
The study also revealed that a quarter of children would consider sending a “mean” comment to someone online, while one in six said it was “overreacting” to get upset by something said to them on the internet.
The research, commissioned by charity the Anti-Bullying Alliance and software protection giants McAfee, spoke to more than 2,000 children and parents and has been released to coincide with the start of anti-bullying week today.
And while 33 per cent were worried their children might be bullying other young people online, 6 per cent of parents had been told their children were guilty of tormenting others on the web.
Luke Roberts, National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance said there was “no clear leadership” when it came to tackling the “growing issue” of cyber-bullying.
“We need to make cyber-bullying a thing of the past and ensure a digital future for our children that is safe, fun and connected; where children take responsibility for their own safety online, but more importantly know where to turn for help when things go wrong,” he said.
More than half of parents said more needed to be done through education, adding that learning about e-safety in school would help their children be better equipped to stay safe online.
As well as educating children about inappropriate behaviour online, many parents called for more education on how social media sites function, with 32 per cent saying they believed they could better protect their children if they knew more about the sites they were using.
Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive and founder of bullying support forum BeatBullying, said it was vital parents spoke to their children about using the internet safely.
“At BeatBullying we are only too aware of the terrible impact cyber-bullying can have on young people’s lives. The most important thing is that young people know where they can go to access support and who is responsible for protecting them,” she said.
Reporting by Abbie Cavendish