Hampshire's Young People Urged To Report Cyber-Bullying

Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner is urging young people to report abusive and hateful messages received through social media and messaging sites.

Simon Hayes says a survey he carried out found 44% had been sent abusive comments. He's revealed the result as part of Safer Internet Day.

Young people are spending an increasing amount of time online and cyber-bullying appear to be on the increase. Mr Hayes wanted to get some sense of what the situation is across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

As part of his youth engagement campaign, Be Part of the Solution, the Commissioner ran an online survey looking at online bullying launched by the Commissioner during Anti-Bullying Week last November. The survey received 824 responses from young people between the ages of 11 to 25.

The results from the survey:

- 75.4% of respondents were aged between 11 and 16, 64.8% of these are at school.
 
- 44.8% had received an abusive comment, tweet or message through social media. The majority identified this happening through Facebook.
 
- When asked if they had or were to receive an abusive comment, tweet or message - 51.3% said they would ignore it, 26.8% said they would report it to the social media site.
 
- Of those who had received an abusive comment, tweet or message, 41.8% said they weren't bothered by it, but the overwhelming majority, 58.5%, said they felt angry (38%) said they felt angry or scared (20.5).
 
- When asked do you think you have ever sent a comment, tweet or message to another person that could have been considered as offensive - 20.6% said 'yes'.
 
Mr Hayes said:

"It is concerning that nearly half of those who responded to the survey have received abusive messages, tweets or comment. It is important that as responsible adults we teach young people that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and if they witness it to report it. Social networking sites need to take more responsibility for monitoring what is happening through the sites and clamp down on any form of abuse.

"We need to protect our young people by having those conversations with them and guiding them on how to stay safe online and make the internet a kinder place - deterring them from inappropriate behaviour online, which can have a detrimental and damaging impact on those it's aimed at.

"By supporting young people to manage these situations appropriately we are encouraging them to stand up to bullies and be part of the solution and not part of the problem".

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