According to McAfee’s new report, cyberbullying has increased on social media platforms. This is a growing way that younger people use social media for communication. The worst part is the fact that these attacks don’t only target teens. Racial abuses are directed even at children as young a 10-year-old.
One out of every four children worldwide now faces racism via social media. Online sexual harassment affects one in six children around the world. This harassment affects one fifth of American children, while it is just as common in India.
More Than Stranger Danger
It is notable that cyberbullying threats are increasingly being made by people children know. Globally, 58% of children reported being victimized by someone close to them, while only 46 said that they were cyberbullied or harassed by strangers.
Online bullying is a growing concern for children. Six out of 10 children worldwide said that they are more concerned about cyberbullying this year than in the past. The “good news” – if it can even be called that – is that 71 percent of children have told their parents they had experienced cyberbullying.
Is the Platform Doing Enough?
Although the platforms make every effort to improve safety, there are some that do more than others. Meta apparently still has work to do, as the respondents to the McAfee survey said that cyberbullying occurs more than twice as often when comparing social media platforms like Meta’s Facebook to Twitter—and more than four times the rate when comparing Meta’s messaging app WhatsApp to Discord.
Facebook led the charge with 53 percent of kids witnessing and 50 percent experiencing cyberbullying. Instagram was close behind with 40 percent witnessing and 30 percent experiencing cyberbullying.
McAfee found that although more than half (50%) of parents have spoken to their children about cyberbullying but that there’s still much to learn to protect children online. What remains a concern is that children may not consider behaviors such as jokes and name-calling to be harmful online – and perhaps may go further than they might when compared to an in-person exchange.
Gagan Singh is McAfee’s chief product officer and executive vice president.
“It’s no surprise that globally we’ve reached the point in the adoption curve where social media is integrated into all areas of our lives – adults and children alike,” Singh explained via an email. It is important that we understand the impact of social media on children’s daily lives across all platforms. These data show where, how and when children experience cyberbullying online worldwide. This information gives parents the insight they need to protect their children no matter where they are located or on what platform.
It is important to note that adult users are not ideal role models for the platform. The echo chamber of social media is being used to amplify political sentiment and discredit the opposition. This is why many adults have been bad role models for children.
These platforms have been about social for a while now.