Online cyberbullying hotspots revealed

Online bullying affecting 340,000 youngsters
Online bullying affecting 340,000 youngsters

A new report suggests that IM service Windows Live Messenger and social-networking site Bebo are the places where younger children are most likely to come under fire from cyberbullies on the internet.

Compiled by the charity Beatbullying, it was revealed that as many as 340,000 children are being bullied online, with two-thirds of all 11 to 18 year-olds admitting they have experienced some sort of bullying on the web.

"We know the consequences of online bullying are just as traumatic as those of face-to-face bullying," said Emma-Jane Cross from beatbullying.

"We want all social networking sites, internet service providers and mobile phone companies to take measures to identify and remove offensive material."

Of those who have felt the effects of online bullying, 58 per cent were using the Windows Live Messenger service, with 32 per cent bullied while logged on to Bebo.

As for MySpace and Facebook, it was found that 10 per cent and 11 per cent of those bullied online were targetted on these sites.

A spokesperson for Microsoft said that "as with any communication service, these online communication tools are misused by a tiny minority".

As for Bebo, the service believes that bullying online and offline "is an aspect of the society we live in but [it] is committed to providing its community with the safest possible environment."

Monitoring needed

Sara Payne, a campaigner for children's safety believes that the answer to cyberbullying could lie with the parents.

She suggests that some sort of monitoring on their children's activities is needed.

"I use a monitoring system that monitors everything that my children do online and I can check anytime I need to," explained Payne at the launch of Real Radio's Websafe campaign.

"I have an agreement with my children, they know it's there. If my child is being particularly secretive or sullen, I might go there to find out what's going on in their life that they won't possibly tell me face to face.

"I can then perhaps strike up a conversation."


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.