More than one in 10 schoolchildren cyberbullied, research shows

Online bullying rates higher at primary level, says five-year study across Ireland

Online threat:   new data  published ahead of Safer Internet Day on February 7th. Photograph: Hemera/Getty

Online threat: new data published ahead of Safer Internet Day on February 7th. Photograph: Hemera/Getty

 

More than one in 10 schoolchildren in Ireland have been bullied online, new research shows. A study by Dublin City University’s national anti-bullying research and resource centre shows the rates are highest at primary-school level.

A total of 14 per cent of children at primary level say they have been cyberbullied, along with 10 per cent of those at second level , according to an in-depth review of studies carried out across the island of Ireland over the past five years.

Dr James O’Higgins Norman, the centre’s director, said the figures were alarming and urged parents to familiarise themselves with the apps and social media used by their children.

The centre has also produced a video (www.tacklebullying.ie) aimed at helping parents prevent or intervene in cases where their child is being bullied or is the bully.

“New apps and social media platforms are coming on to the market all the time and being targeted at children as young as nine years of age,” Mr O’Higgins Norman said. “There is a pressing need to create protections around children from cyberbullying. For parents at a loss on how to intervene or protect their child, we would recommend they familiarise themselves with the social media channels their children are using first and then talk to their children about their usage.”

The data about the scale of cyberbullying comes on the eve of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, February 7th. The study forms part of a wider analysis of all studies on cyberbullying in Ireland from 1997 onwards, to be published later this year.