Survey – parents worry about cyber bullying

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  • One in four families knows victims among the people close to them
  • Bullying is most common on social networks
  • Cyber bullying is focus of Safer Internet Day on February 7, 2017
Symbol image Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying weighs heavily on victims.

Cyber bullying has many dimensions. From insults, abuse and deliberate shaming using embarrassing photographs, for instance, to threats of violence, the boundaries are often blurred. What’s particularly insidious is that the Internet’s supposed anonymity encourages attacks. And once something’s on the net, it can spread like wildfire. So it’s not surprising that many parents are worried. To be more precise, 44 percent of parents of 10- to 20-year-old children and young adults fear that they themselves or their children could become victims of cyber bullying. For parents under 40, the figure is as high as 56 percent, as TNS Emnid found out in a representative online survey on behalf of Computerhilfe at Deutsche Telekom. The researchers questioned 1,000 mothers and fathers throughout Germany. The subject of the survey is also the focus of this year’s Safer Internet Day on February 7, 2017.

Cyber bullying occurs primarily on social networks

A quarter of the parents interviewed know people among their friends and families who have already been the victims of cyber bullying. And in 7 percent of families, it was their own child who was affected. Cyber bullying occurs primarily on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, according to 72 percent of the parents who know a bullying victim. But bullying also often takes place on messaging services such as WhatsApp, according to 32 percent of the respondents. It’s reassuring that most of those affected take action against online attacks, with 85 percent having reacted to cases of bullying. Four out of ten victims have informed their school or employer. Around one third have contacted the perpetrator(s) or the parents of the perpetrator(s). Roughly another third – mainly older parents – have pressed criminal charges. However, a good one in seven victims hasn’t done anything.

Reliable protection available from Deutsche Telekom’s Computerhilfe Plus

Around one third of cyber bullying victims (31 percent) haven’t found help anywhere, according to respondents. This indicates that many parents are at a loss about how to react to online attacks or what they can do to preempt them. “Parents should make their children aware of online dangers at an early stage,” says Celina Kranich, an expert at Deutsche Telekom’s Computerhilfe Plus (Computer Help Plus). “What’s crucial here is to develop a trust-based relationship and show interest, including in digital habits. Then children are more inclined, for example, to let you jointly review and adapt privacy settings on Facebook etc. And they’re also more open to well-meaning advice.”

Computerhilfe Plus recently started offering reliable protection on the service number 0800 330 1473 (in Germany). This provides parents and children with preventive tips and instructions on safe use of data on social networks and messaging services. They can thus effectively put a stop to online bullying. However, if serious situations do occur, the Deutsche Telekom experts ensure that abusive messages, malicious posts and other defamatory content on the Internet are deleted quickly. This involves, for example, researching the appropriate contacts, initiating exchanges between the conflicting parties, compiling replies and monitoring all the relevant channels. Services are tailored to meet the needs of each case.

The complete results of the TNS Emnid study and a press graphic are available at and in the Computerhilfe Press Room at (German only). These links also provide information on Deutsche Telekom’s Computerhilfe Plus offering. Additional tips on life in the digital world can also be found at (in German).

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