Summer holidays have started; a time to relax away from the drudgery of school timetables and homework, make the most of the sunshine and enjoy time with friends and family. Or is it?
Today we are releasing a new survey, The Online Behavioural Habits of Young People Today, which questioned 1,000 children aged eight to 16 and 1500 parents in partnership with BeatBullying, the international anti-bullying charity which campaigns to make bullying unacceptable. We have some thought-provoking and shocking results to share... Almost a quarter (23) during term time.
One in five of this age group have interacted with strangers online.
More than a third go online most often in their own bedroom.
One in five of 12-16-year-olds think being bullied online is part of life.
More than a quarter admitted to witnessing bullying online, but only half did something about it.
Our research also reveals that more than a third (38) also said they had interacted with strangers online, and almost a quarter (23) of 12-16-year-olds have witnessed bullying online, however only half did something about it (51) of 12-16-year-olds said they feel safe online, compared to only 60) of 12-16-year-olds said they think being bullied online is part of life.
For those 12-16-year-olds who did do something about the bullying, most went to their parents for advice, however only 38) of young people said their parents are responsible for controlling what they access online, with over a third of 8-9-year-olds admitting their mum rather than their dad was responsible.
Here's what Tamsin Kelly, editor of Parentdish.co.uk, has to say: "Our research clearly shows that we, the parents, need to keep a constant dialogue going with our teenagers about what they're doing and who they're talking to and reaffirm the ground rules for using social media (for example, not giving out personal details, not getting involved in bullying and talking to an adult about anything that feels uncomfortable).
"Teenagers are online more often during the summer holidays – to a worrying degree in some cases, but the positive news is that parents are still the safe place to go to when our teens are worried about cyber bullying.
"We would recommend parents set ground rules for teens to go online in a shared family space, not hidden away in their bedrooms for hours on end. Although teenagers may feel they are in control of what they are watching online, it is important that parents have a clear understanding of what their children are doing online."
Emma-Jane Cross, CEO and founder of BeatBullying said: "The summer holidays can be a wonderful break for children and families, but the sheer number of hours that some teenagers spend online every day puts them at risk of cyber-bullying. It's vital that parents speak to their children about how to enjoy the Internet safely.
"What's most worrying about this research is the number of teens who accept being bullied online as part of life, and the fact that many are unaware of who they can speak to when they witness bullying online.
"We'd urge parents and young people to visit the BeatBullying website where they can find advice on how to report online bullying, and support for 11-17s who are being bullied themselves."