Parents struggle to keep up with all the online channels their kids can use — and feel like passwords give them little access to what their kids are doing
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Millions of parents feel powerless to protect their children online – even though 48% know their child has experienced cyberbullying at some point.
The study of 1,400 parents with children aged six to 18 found that 57% know little about how to keep their children safe – with a third of them admitting they are not that tech-savvy.
And 47% have little access to what their child is doing online due to locked phones and console passwords.
More than half (55%) of parents who feel helpless find it difficult to keep up with all the online channels their child can use.
The study, commissioned by The Diana Award, was released after Downing Street hosted a closed reception with charity ambassadors Rio Ferdinand, UK youth ambassador for mental health at the Department of Education, Dr. Alex George, and young anti-bullying ambassadors trained by the charity .
The meeting with Number 10 took place while the Online Safety Bill is going through Parliament.
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According to the study, 46% of parents worry their child knows more about technology than older members of the house and can cover up problems.
Of the children surveyed, more than half (58%) would not tell their parents if someone tried to bully them online.
And 45% are not sure if their parents could still help them.
Diana Award spokesperson Alex Holmes said: “The online element of modern life can make bullying behavior much more complex.
“When many of today’s parents were young, bullying – although terrible – was something that happened outside or at school.
“Now, even the safe space that was once home is increasingly threatened in today’s always-connected world — especially where lockdowns and school closures have allowed bullying behaviors to permeate online life more and more.”
The study also found that 54% of parents recognize that they could be part of the problem – by sharing something online that could be construed as bullying or insulting that their children could easily see.
And of those, six in 10 worry that their child might repeat something they’ve written or shared online to another child.
However, two thirds of parents (67%) were confident that their children would approach them if they were being bullied online.
It comes after one in three children (32%) said they would likely contact the website moderator or someone in charge of a game if they were exposed to online trolls.
More than one in five (22%) would try to find a way to “get revenge” on their attacker, but 23% would ignore what was said and avoid going back online.
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However, the results show that bullying is more common in real life than in the digital space, as 31% of the young people surveyed had a problem with someone in the real world.
This compares to 17% who have only experienced cyberbullying – while 19% have experienced both.
Adolescents also indicated that the most likely place they will see bullying is in the classroom by other students (31%).
However, according to OnePoll figures, 21% believe they have seen intimidation tactics used by teachers themselves at school.
And one in four (26%) have experienced unfriendly behavior on messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Discord.
To date, more than 40,000 young people in almost 5,000 schools across the UK and Ireland have been trained to be Anti-Bullying Ambassadors through the Diana Award, which aims to fight bullying and empower young people to make a difference.
Alex Holmes added: “Our findings show that dealing with bullying can be overwhelming for parents – but it’s important they understand their role in their child’s safety without things being swept under the rug.
“We encourage communication to not just rely on the child’s openness, but to flow both ways, with honest dialogue about acceptable forms of communication, both in real life and online.
“If you don’t know where to start, schools, parents and children can sign up for our Don’t Go It Alone campaign to receive free anti-bullying resources, help and support for all types of bullying behavior . We’re here to help eradicate it.”