Figures released for Safer Internet Day show that most children have suffered abuse online at some point.
A ResearchBods survey of over 1,000 children aged 11-16 show that 51 per cent of kids have suffered abuse at some point with, 5 per cent saying that people are mean to them most of the time and 13 per cent claiming to receive abuse constantly.
Despite this, most children surveyed agreed that the Internet was a great asset, with YouTube named as the top destination (78 per cent) for entertainment, which is perhaps surprising given some of the abusive comments we’ve seen on our own YouTube channels.
Most 11-16 year olds (60 per cent) said that they’d feel lonely if they couldn’t talk to their friends online, while 55 per cent of kids surveyed said that they mainly see people posting positive messages on social networks.
Read our features on enabling parental controls on Windows 8, Mac OS X devices and older Windows 7 machinesWill Gardner, director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said: “It’s heartening to hear that the majority of young people are finding the internet a positive place on the whole, but there’s more to be done to make sure that’s the experience for everyone.
“We’re encouraging everyone to take action today – whether that’s sharing a smiley face or making a promise about your online behaviour. It really is up to us to make the internet a better place.”
An additional survey by ComRes showed that adults are as likely as children to have seen people post racist, sexist or homophobic comments (41 per cent), or share gossip or rumours about others (38 per cent) on the Internet.
Publication of these figures follows plans to curb Internet access for users found guilty of posting racist abuse, in a similar manner to how the freedoms of convicted sex offenders can be restricted.
Last week Twitter CEO Dick Costolo spoke of plans to better police the social network, although it's unclear exactly what Twitter's plans are.
Safer Internet Day is supported by the UK’s Safer Internet Centre, an information hub designed to help people use the web safely. The Safer Internet Centre also advises government policymakers and currently hosts the Internet Watch Foundation hotline. This reporting tool lets citizens flag any instances of child sexual abuse imagery hosted globally, obscene adult content hosted in the UK, or any simulated child abuse imagery hosted in the UK.