Pledges to educate about online intimidation to address rising cyberbullying levels in India
Telenor India and Telenor Group today reinforced their internet safety goals with support for Stop Cyberbullying Day 2016, an international awareness day that aims to reduce cyberbullying globally. With an estimated half billion youth in Telenor Asia’s markets of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand accessing the internet for the first time in the next five years, Telenor hopes to educate young users on the benefits of connectivity, as well as how to navigate online threats.
Cyberbullying refers to electronic communication used for the purpose of bullying. With 92% of parents in India fearful that their children will be cyberbullying victims, education is becoming increasingly key to mitigate growing online abuses rates. Launched by Cybersmile Foundation, Stop Cyberbullying Day utilizes social media to spread an anti-cyberbullying message with the #SCD2016 hashtag. In 2015, the movement engaged 45 million people, and this year Telenor hopes to help them exceed that number.
“Telenor is dedicated to increasing internet safety for all, with an emphasis on youth,” said Sharad Mehrotra, Chief Executive Officer, Telenor India. “Stop Cyberbullying Day 2016 is a progressive initiative that seeks to address online bullying. With an estimated 100 million young people to come online in Telenor’s Asia markets by 2017, creating awareness around this topic is an important part of our efforts to actively reduce cyberbullying levels.”
Cyberbullying Statistics by Country
By 2017, 134 million children in India will be online, giving them access to a well of information and knowledge. Yet, more than half of children between the ages of 8 to 17 years (53%) who are currently utilizing the net, have faced some form of cyberbullying at least once. As a result, parents in India fear online bullying more than physical bullying when it comes to their children and compared to the global average, Indian parents are 20% more likely to limit their child’s online activities.
A sizeable 49% of school students in Bangladesh have experienced either ‘being bullied or disturbed online,’ ‘being bullied by the same person both online and offline’ or have actually engaged in bullying others online. The same percentage said they submitted to at least one form of peer pressure.
While less than half of Bangladeshi school students choosing to confide in parents and teachers when faced with online issues, the country sees a lower than average rate of consultation with adults compared to other markets in Asia.
Internet usage by schoolchildren in all states in Malaysia is more than 90% on average. One in four report having exprienced cyberbullying, however a 2015 study revealed that the majority of Malaysian schoolchildren are aware that such behaviours can be identified and reported. In the face of online threats by peers, most Malaysian children are likely to adopt a privacy setting or blocking strategies, and are aware of the channels to report to teachers or relevant authorities. Nonetheless, there is a high likelihood that many youngsters will keep quiet and hope the cyberbullying will stop, rather than consult a trusted adult.
Malaysian students also ranked highly in terms of being aware of what constitutes socially acceptable behaviors on the internet and are open to following online rules set by parents. Overall, 67% said they felt able to improve or solve any cyberbullying problems themselves or with adult help. This higher percentage could be attributed to consistent efforts to increase internet safety awareness among Malaysian school students, including DiGi’s CyberSAFE programme.
Overall, 33% of Thai school students have experienced either ‘being bullied or disturbed online,’ ‘being bullied by the same person both online and offline’ or they have actually engaged in the act of bullying others online. Additionally, 35% of Thai students have said they succumbed to at least one form of peer pressure such as being encouraged to visit unsuitable websites or use bad language online.
Of the Thai students encountering cyberbullying and online peer pressure, 59% responded that they felt capable of resolving such issues by themselves or with adult guidance. Notable was the level of students in Thailand who said when faced with online issues that they do not know how to solve alone: 55% said they were likely to approach their parents, far higher than Bangladesh at 38% saying they would consult their guardians. By frequently consulting with parents, children can better navigate the challenges of interactions online.
The Online World is Still Real
Be Smart Use Heart is Telenor’s symbol for initiatives across its global markets directed towards school-age children and their parents addressing cyberbullying. The programs provide information and tools to help children and parents cope with bullying online and address linked issues such as how to stay safe online and how to keep a mobile device secure.
For more information on how to make the internet a safer environment for youth, Telenor Group provides a Parent Guide: How to talk to your children about the internet.