LIFESTYLE NEWS - In South Africa, 51.5% of children have been cyber bullied, a study reveals.
This statistic is the result of a survey done in February 2021, during which 200 South African parents shared their views and concerns regarding their children and the digital threats they face.
The study done by Digimune, a platform that provides digital risk protection, further indicates the following:
- 35% of children have been a victim of cyber-stalking
- 36.5% of children have fallen victim to online shaming
- 43.5% of children willingly share their personal information on online platforms
- 54% of children have accessed inappropriate content via digital platforms
The reason for this trend is said to be the increase in more people, especially younger ones, being online. One of the biggest problems seems to be the lack of good cyber education and defensive tools.
According to the study, parents' top digital concerns regarding their children include:
- Shaming/revenge porn
- Cyber bullying
- Accessing adult or otherwise inappropriate content
- Identity theft
These fears do not seem to be unfounded since more than one out of every two children in the respondents' communities have been victims of cyber-bullying, or have accessed adult or otherwise inappropriate content online.
Further, more than two out of five children have shared personal information online, and more than three out of 10 have been cyber-stalked or been a victim of online shaming or revenge porn.
The likelihood exists that this data is an under-representation, due to a combination of children's reluctance to tell their parents about an attack and the sophistication of cybercrime today.
Tips for protection
Education is key. By the age of 10, 30.5% of children have their own smartphone and 41.5% have access to a shared smartphone. It is important to know about good cyber education, as well as defensive tools that can be used as an option to protect you and your family
Limit time spent online. Cyber bullying has increased in SA during lockdown as more and more family members spend longer periods online. There has also been an increase during the last 12 months, due to online education.
Be cautious of the information shared online. Sharing less information online, being aware of the signs, managing your digital footprint, utilising a monitoring tool and takedown can be very useful.
Although many parents feel overwhelmed in cyberspace, monitoring your children's devices are paramount.
Being online and having access to a variety of digital tools and platforms have become essential, whether the purpose is shopping, learning, exercising or socialising, which is why safeguarding yourself and your family is of vital importance.
* Source: Red Ribbon Communications
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