Cyberbullying on the Rise for Schoolkids

A cyberbullying study, which surveyed American parents and K-12 school IT professionals, found that 35.3% of IT professionals surveyed say they believe cyberbullying incidents will increase in the 2017-2018 school year.

The study, conducted by Lightspeed Systems to raise awareness of the issue of cyberbullying in schools and how access to technology affects today’s youth, indicated that a rise in school cyberbullying incidents can be observed over a longer period of time as well: More than half (55.9%) of those surveyed say that bullying is happening more frequently at their schools than it did just five years ago.

According to survey results, the majority of parents and IT professionals agree that the ultimate responsibility to stop cyberbullying in schools falls upon parents. However, 59.5% of parents said school administration, teachers and school IT staff are responsible for halting incidents of cyberbullying. Many IT professionals (26.5%) said stopping cyberbullying requires a group effort by parents, teachers, other school staff and students. Seventy-seven percent of parents said they have talked with their children about cyberbullying.

Additionally, more than a quarter of the K-12 IT professionals surveyed say cyberbullying happens frequently in their schools.

“Helping school IT departments keep children safe in their digital learning journeys is a goal of every solution that Lightspeed Systems develops,” said Lightspeed president and CEO Brian Thomas. “Every school has challenges related to cyberbullying and it’s our objective to provide smart products that keep children safe and on-track while they learn.”

The news comes as across the pond, the UK government is addressing the issue: Britain plans to become the safest place in the world to be online thanks to new government proposals announced by culture secretary Karen Bradley.

As detailed on the UK government’s website, the Internet Safety Strategy aims to crack down on dangers like cyber-bullying, trolling and under-age access to porn. Proposals include a new social media code of practice to see a joined-up approach to remove or address bullying, intimidating or humiliating online content, an industry-wide levy so social media companies and communication service providers contribute to raise awareness and counter internet harms, and an annual internet safety transparency report to show progress on addressing abusive and harmful content and conduct.

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