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BizReport : Internet : October 03, 2013

54% of extreme cyber-bullying takes place on Facebook

Cyber-bullying is affecting the self-esteem and social lives of many young people, and is most-likely to be encountered on Facebook, according to a new report released by UK-based anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label.

by Helen Leggatt

Yesterday I watched with dismay as a new Facebook Page called "High School Gossip" found its way into the newsfeeds of many New Zealand teens. Why dismay? This Page was set up purely to attack, degrade and, ultimately, bully high school students. It contained slanderous and, it appears, fabricated accusations of a sexual and personal nature in which high school students were tagged. Some comments told tagged student to kill themselves, others reveled in the hardships and problems of others but all were bullying taken to the extreme.

Today, with relief, I saw that Page has been taken down, thanks to the efforts of a large group of local New Zealand Facebook users.

ditch the label.jpgCyber-bullying is a problem the world over and, according to a new report from children's charity Ditch the Label, Facebook is where much of it plays out. Over half (54%) of 'extreme cyber-bullying' take place on the social network. and Twitter were also found to be domains favored by bullies.

"I think there's a tendency for older people to think that cyber-bullying is a lesser form of bullying because there is this idea you can delete a comment or you can block it and it's gone," said Ditch the Label founder Liam Hackett.

"But actually, we have seen that content becomes viral very quickly and when comments are put out on a public platform it can be more distressing for the victim because a lot of people are exposed to this content, so it's incredibly harmful."

Incredibly, more than a million young people in Britain are subjected to extreme online bullying every day, according to the report for which 10,000 people between the ages of 13 and 22 were surveyed.

Liam Hackett founded Ditch the Label after being a victim of bullying himself. He notes how bullying is evolving with social media access.

"Historically bullying went on in the classroom and it stopped when you got home," he said, "but now there's no escape for young people."

Other key findings from the report include:

- 37% of young people experience cyber-bullying on a highly frequent basis;
- 20% experience 'extreme' cyber-bullying on a daily basis;
- Cyber-bullying has been found to have catastrophic effects on the self-esteem and social lives of up to 70% of young people;
- Young males and females are equally at risk.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: charity, cyber-bully, Facebook, research, social media

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  • Viktoria Michaelis

    For many younger people, social media is a major part of their lives, a place in the Internet where they feel relatively secure and amongst friends. Sadly the opposite is true: social media opens up many avenues for bullies, criminals and those with no social morals or standards to live their darker fantasies and wreck lives in one form or another.

    None of the social media networks will ever be able to combat cyber-bullying - exactly the same as schools cannot prevent face-to-face bullying - as it happens away from the mainstream of Real Life, hidden from the eyes of those who could react in a helpful way. And each time a Page is closed or a user expelled, a new one appears with better anonymity, or the same ones come back again under a new name.

    Prevention is only possible through absolute control - real verification of identity - and that is something which is not going to happen any time soon, and something which most Internet and social media network users simply do not want, regardless of the risks.



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