The Annual Cyberbullying Survey 2013
Historically, bullying exclusively took place in the class room and the victims could usually rely upon their homes as sanctuaries and as vessels for escapism. Present day, young people are being targeted in all areas of their lives, both online and offline.
In February 2013, we launched our groundbreaking ‘Annual Bullying Survey 2013’ research taken from over 2,000 British teenagers. We found that cyberbullying was a growing trend within the sphere of bullying and we were naturally inclined to investigate further. The Annual Cyberbullying Survey is the largest of its kind; sampling 10,008 young people on an issue that affects up to 69% of them. Our survey was conducted in partnership with Habbo (www.Habbo.com), the largest online teen community in the world. Ditch the Label work with Habbo, running our virtual ‘Bullying Support Centre’ which is accessed by over 30,000 teens every week. The entire website is accessed by over 2.5 million teens per week.
In short, we have identified that cyberbullying is not just a passing “phase” and is having a profound impact upon the lives of millions across the country. Cyberbullying is seriously damaging the self-esteem and future prospects of young people and is an issue that we cannot afford to overlook.
Our research has identified the variation of cyberbullying on different social networks. Up to 89% of young users on certain social networks were cyberbullied on that particular website.
Each week, we attract thousands of young people to our website, seeking refuge, support and advice from us. Increasingly, we are receiving cyberbullying related enquiries of different extremities. At Ditch the Label, we have a huge emphasis upon education - not just for the victims of bullying but also for the bullies themselves. Bullying often derives from personal insecurities and also gaps in education about minority groups and the criminalities of bullying.
We also believe that it is important to connect with young people in environments that feel most natural to them. Our involvement with music, fashion, technology and other youth-related interests provides us with a fantastic platform to teach young people that it is okay to be different and to educate them about staying safe online.
Cyberbullying is not going to slow down unless we act fast. Social networks have a moral obligation and a duty of care to their users to implement tight mechanisms of flagging and reporting cyberbullying. Work needs to be done to make the reporting of hate crimes much more accessible to youths and we need to teach people that cyberbullying is not okay.
Part of the motive behind this research is to stipulate pressure on social networks to really take on board their moral responsibilities for greater governance and education. However, we all have an incredibly important role to play if we are to go about reducing cyberbullying.