Australia ranked one in cyberbullying

Australia is ranked number one in the world for cyberbullying with children younger than 10 now at risk, new figures show.
Australia is ranked number one in the world for cyberbullying with children younger than 10 now at risk, new figures show.

IN A shock to parents, Australia has been ranked number one for bullying on social networks with one in four children bullied online, new figures show.

And more alarmingly is the fact 80 per cent of Australian children under 10 are now active on social networks.

Anti-bullying expert John Caldwell says the statistics are alarming and warns that parental monitoring may not be enough.

"Many parents monitor their children’s use of the internet but you simply can’t be everywhere, particularly if your child is going online via a mobile,” Mr Caldwell said. 

"Kids are generally more tech-savvy than adults, and more capable of controlling technology and platforms than their parents via privacy settings and hiding browser history.

“It’s important to note too that while the most popular social platforms do require users to be at least 13-years-old, research shows close of half of teenagers who use networking sites admit to lying about their age.

"Kids are smart and if they don’t want you to know what they’re up to, generally, they’ll find a way.”

 Mr Caldwell said the most recent ACMA report, Like Post Share, showed while parents were very aware of the need for cybersafety with older children, there was a significant gap in teaching kids under 10 how to protect themselves online.

“ACMA reports the percentage of Australian eight- to nine-year olds who rate the internet as ‘very important’ in their lives has doubled since 2009,” Mr Caldwell said. 

“Up to 35 per cent of eight to 11-year-olds have their own mobile phone, rising to 94 per cent of 16 to 17-year-olds. 

"Children and young people are increasingly gaining access to the internet via their mobiles yet fewer eight to 11-year-olds have discussed cybersafety with their parents.”

The warning to parents comes after a 14-year-old British girl claimed her own life after months of bullying on social networks.