14/08/2014 16:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Teens Exposing Themselves To Danger Online

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African American teenager with earbuds on computer

Ahead of Safer Internet Day on February 11, a report reveals that risky online behaviour is putting teenagers in danger of bullying and exploitation.

Over a fifth of 14 and 15-year-olds reported spending over four hours on social media every day, more than any other age group. And they are sharing too much personal information online.


Worryingly, 11) of 14 and 15-year-olds had seen online porn, and 19 of teenagers had witnessed cruel behaviour online, whilst 22 were able to see that their cruel and abusive comments may be considered mean to the person on the receiving end, with the same number seeing these comments as 'just banter'.

When it came to stranger danger, one in 10 (11) of those teens approached had then shared inappropriate things such as pictures of themselves with that stranger, which they later regretted.

More worrying still, a fifth (20%) reported meeting that adult in person before realising the relationship was inappropriate.

The research was conducted by internet security solutions provider McAfee and the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), part of leading children's charity the National Children's Bureau. It found that 14 and 15-year-old teenagers are most likely to risk their safety and overshare online; putting themselves in potentially harmful situations and at risk of cyber-bullying.

Luke Roberts, National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance said: "The digital world is one inhabited by most young people on a daily basis, yet they are clearly struggling to understand online etiquettes, what appropriate online behaviour is, or how to keep safe.

"As adults it is our responsibility to teach children and young people digital skills and set boundaries so they are able to realise the huge benefits and opportunities that the internet offers in terms of accessing information and making friends, but also ensures that they are safe and free from being bullied both online and offline."

More on Parentdish:

Safety in cyber space: Keeping your children from harm online

Do you know who your teen is talking to online?

Cyber bullying: How to help children stay safe online