1-in-3 Malaysian kids victims of cyber-bullying: Microsoft survey
By Digital News Asia August 10, 2012
- Parents urged to help kids stand up to cyber-bullying
- Malaysian parents fare badly compared with global average
ACCORDNG to a new Global Youth Online Behavior Survey (http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9808197) released by Microsoft Corp, 33% of Malaysian children say they have been subjected to a range of online activities that some may consider to be online bullying.
The study, which covered 7,600 children from age eight to 17, focused on how kids treated one another online and whether parents were addressing online behavior. It was conducted from Jan 11 to Feb 19 in 25 countries, including Malaysia.
In Malaysia, the survey further revealed that 38% of Malaysian respondents are very or somewhat worried about online bullying while only 27% of parents talked about online risks with their children.
Globally, the findings continued to be worrisome with more than half (54%) of children worried about being bullied online.
It was also found that:
- Four in 10 children say they have experienced what adults might consider as online bullying.
- 24% say they have done something parents would consider as online bullying.
- 5% of parents engage with their children’s school about online bullying.
“Online bullying is a real challenge and a serious issue globally, and Malaysia is not exempted from this fact,” said Jasmine Begum (pic), director of Corporate Affairs, Malaysia and New Markets, Microsoft Malaysia.
According to the Malaysian survey, children want to talk to their parents about the issue, but only 27% of parents have talked to their kids about protecting themselves online. Additionally, according to the children surveyed, only 4% say their schools have formal policies that address online bullying.
Noor Azimah (pic), president of the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE), said that kids these days are exposed to technology at a very young age.
“This may precipitate a technological gap which parents and educators cannot fill without proper training. Including formal school policies on online bullying may help fill this gap, and at the same time, provide an avenue for parents, teachers and children to understand and curb online bullying,” she said.
The Malaysian survey also revealed that only 18% of parents teach their kids online manners (significantly below the 25-country average of 39%), and only 13% of parents ask their kids if they’ve been bullied online (as compared to 30% global average).
“Children need an avenue to discuss distressing issues like online bullying with an authority figure. They need to feel safe and reassured when faced with mentally exhausting situations like these,” said Dr Abdul Kadir Abu Bakar, president of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA).
“When avenues like these are unavailable, children may take matters into their own hands and with inexperience, handle the situation inappropriately, which can lead to many psychological and mental problems in the future.
“It is therefore imperative that parents embark on a more proactive role in monitoring their children’s behavior, especially online,” he added.
With regards to Malaysian parents paying attention to their children’s computer activity, the Malaysian survey showed that only 30% of parents monitor their kid’s use of the computer (compared to the global average of 44%).
In conjunction with the survey results, Microsoft is also releasing two additional resources:
- Stand Up To Online Bullying Quiz. This interactive online quiz can be easily downloaded onto an organization’s or school’s website as a teaching tool. It is designed to walk adults through a series of scenarios in which, upon answering, the quiz delivers immediate guidance on how to talk about, identify and respond to the range of online behaviors from online meanness to bullying and beyond.
- Digital Citizenship in Action Toolkit. Kids mirror adult behavior — the good, the bad and the ugly. This interactive educational guide helps teach users how to foster responsible use of technology in today’s digital world.
Microsoft also partners with organizations like iKeepSafe, iLookBothWays and the Anti-Defamation League to provide professional development for teachers and school staff with courses in online bullying.
The survey was conducted online and in person by youths. Adults were allowed to help their children answer questions if necessary. Field work and data processing were performed by Synovate.
The full Global Youth Online Behavior Survey report, along with the complete list of individual executive summaries for each country, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/security/resources/research.aspx#onlinebullying.