Fri, Jul 13, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Children face ‘serious’ online bullying: survey

INTIMIDATION:The Internet is useful, said the group that released the research findings, but organizers urged parents to monitor their children on the Web

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Participants are seen holding cards with slogans reading “Internet abuse” and “Internet bullying” at a press conference in Taipei yesterday, where the results of a survey into children’s experience of online bullying were released.

Photo: Hu Ching-hui, Taipei Times

Although close to 60 percent of teenage Internet users think that online bullying is a serious issue, most people will do nothing about it when they witness such Web behavior, the King Car Education Foundation said yesterday, citing results of a survey.

According to the results of a poll conducted last month in which 1,468 valid samples were randomly collected from fifth and six graders as well as junior and senior-high school students throughout the country, 58 percent of the respondents said that bullying is a serious issue on the Internet. However, 43.7 percent of the respondents said that they would “react calmly” when they see cases of Internet bullying.

In addition, 39.1 percent said they would simply ignore the bullying behavior, while only 23.2 percent would try to stop it.

What is more worrying, the foundation said, is that 8 percent of the respondents said they would react to bullying by acting in the same way or by mobilizing their friends to “counterattack.”

King Car Education Foundation executive director Tseng Ching-yun (曾清芸) said that she was worried by teenagers’ largely passive attitude towards Internet bullying.

“As a teenager, when you witness bullying on the Internet, you should tell your friend that it’s wrong to do so and tell him or her what the right thing is to do,” Tseng told a press conference in Taipei at which the results of the survey were released. “If you simply ignore it, you’re actually encouraging such hostile behavior, because you would make people feel that it’s OK to do it.”

Besides bullying, Tseng said that there are other models of online behavior that raise concern.

For instance, 34 percent of the respondents said they would use inappropriate words on the Internet, 21 percent said they would stay up all night to chat or play online games and 11.3 percent would post their own or their friends’ intimate photos on the Internet.

“The Internet has created many problems for teenagers. Sixty-three percent of the respondents said they would be upset if they were cut off from the Internet, 44 percent said they cannot stop once they get on the Internet and teenagers do not have sufficient understanding of the law and are very likely to break laws while online,” Tseng said. “The Internet is a very good tool, but it can also be something horrible if it’s not used properly.”

“As most students are on summer vacation right now, I hereby call on parents to pay more attention to what their kids are doing on the Internet,” she added.

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