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Indian kids worst victims of cyberbullying, says study

Wednesday January 18, 2012 10:22:53 PM, IANS

Mumbai: Three out of 10 parents in India say their children have been victims of cyberbullying and a majority of them through social networking sites like Facebook, according to an online global poll released Wednesday.

The survey done by Ipsos - a global market research company - found that 45 percent of Indian parents believed a child in their community was being cyberbullied, while a majority (53 percent) parents are aware of the issue.

Cyberbullying is when a child or group of children -- under the age of 18 -- intentionally intimidate, offend, threaten or embarrass another child or group of kids specifically through the use of information technology, such as a website or chat room on internet, a cellular telephone or another mobile device.

The poll surveyed 18,000 adults in 24 countries, 6,500 of whom were parents. It showed the most widely reported vehicle for cyberbullying was social networking sites like Facebook, which 60 percent cited.

Globally, mobile devices and online chat rooms were a distant second and third, each around 40 percent.

In India, it is evenly split between social networking sites (55 percent) and online chat rooms (54 percent).

"The findings are quite surprising, which revealed that the frequency of cyberbullying in India was higher than that of western nations, including the US (15 percent), Britain (11 percent) and France (5 percent). Prior to this survey, there has been little evidence to suggest cyberbullying is a major issue in the country," said Biswarup Banerjee, head - marketing communications, Ipsos in India.

"The key to this study is that it measures parental awareness of cyberbullying, not actual rates of the behaviour. While we can't speculate on what actually happens, it is quite possible that the proportion of children actually being cyberbullied is, in fact, understated, since we are speaking with the parents, not the kids," he said.

A strong majority (77 percent) of global citizens say cyberbullying is a fundamentally different type of bullying that needs special attention from parents and schools, in addition to existing efforts to address bullying in general.




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