Online abuse forcing children away from social media, says Anti-Bullying Week report

Charity led coalition Anti-Bullying Alliance is taking to social media to raise awareness of the affect bullying and online abuse has on children.

Joe Lepper | 11th Nov 19
Image of girl with text help us for Anti-Bullying Week

Around a fifth of children are forced to avoid social media and online gaming due to bullying, according to awareness raising activity taking place this week to mark Anti-Bullying Week (11-15 November).

During the week of activity campaign organisers Anti-Bullying Alliance are using social media and online promotion to raise awareness of bullying and in particular children’s attitudes to abuse.

This includes promoting the Change Starts With Us report, which reveals children’s recommendations for tech firms, politicians, the media, schools and parents to tackle bullying. Change Starts With Us is also the slogan for this year’s annual week of activity.

This survey of more than 1,000 children found that 19 per cent have been forced to avoid playing games online or spending time on social media due to bullying.

A quarter of children say they have bullied once a week or more during the last six months and one in ten children say they have missed school due to bullying.

Three quarters of children polled said that social media and gaming platforms need to do more to address bullying.

All adults need to do more to promote good behaviour online, say children. A quarter believe that adults are not good role models for online and face-to-face behaviour and around one in ten children have seen grown-ups bullying each other online.

“We must work together to avoid the long-term impact that bullying can have on young people,” said Martha Evans, Anti-Bullying Alliance Director.

“Of course that means change on a national scale – for example, improving support online or conducting research – but it’s also about the everyday actions that each of us can take to help someone who is suffering because of bullying.

“That’s the idea behind ‘Change Starts With Us’, and we’re encouraging young and old to get involved.

Campaign activity online

The Anti-Bullying Alliance is a coalition of organisations against bullying that was created in 2002 by the NSPCC and National Children’s Bureau. It’s members include Childnet and Family Lives.

Activity taking place includes urging people to share the campaign messages via social media using the hashtags #AntiBullingWeek and #ChangeStartsWithUs.

A Youtube film has been released featuring young people, each taking a line from a poem specially written for the campaign.

In addition, downloadable logos and social media material have been made available by the Alliance to help people promote the week of campaigning.