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Back to School: Stand Up to Cyberbullying Help Keeping Children Safe Online

September is synonymous with back-to-school for much of the world’s youth – however, for some, back-to-school often means a return to cyberbullying. In fact, cyberbullying has beome common enough that the term was recently added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

A new Microsoft research shows that, “on average, 27% of people in five countries have been exposed to cyberbullying in the last 12 months. The survey, conducted in Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, shows that in these countries, cyberbullying features most prominently in Brazil (50%) and less so in the U.S. (16%),” informed Jacqueline Beauchere, Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft.

Beauchere said “France, Germany and the UK, meanwhile, fall more in the middle of the pack, with 24%, 25% and 22% of respondents, respectively, stating that they or someone they know have been exposed to incidents of cyberbullying in the past year. These data are part of a larger Microsoft study about consumer online awareness, attitudes and behaviors, and are in line with other similar polling data. Statistics vary, but in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan and South Korea, between 10% and 40% of teens say that at one time or another, they’ve been victims of cyberbullying.

In an effort to create a “culture of safety” and promote good “digital citizenship” worldwide, Microsoft helps inform parents, caregivers, teachers and school officials about cyberbullying. Microsoft published a list of 10 tips for tackling cyberbullying including: (full list is embedded below – read only)

  • Be an advocate. Kids need to know that adults can and will provide positive, active and predicable support. And, that they should never, under any circumstance, bully someone.
  • Talk about it. Encourage kids to report bullying to a trusted adult.
  • Look for signs of online bullying. For example, if kids get upset when they’re online, or they show a reluctance to go to or be at school.
  • Encourage them to make friends. And, urge friends to look out for one another. Cyberbullies are less likely to target those whom they perceive are well-supported.

You can also refer following cyberbullying prevention resources available: Safety & Security Center, including a factsheet, brochure and article, as well as recent cyberbullying research and the associated findings.

Microsoft also participate actively in industry coalitions, and partner with groups such as iKeepSafe, Wired Safety and the Family Online Safety Institute, supporting their efforts to help prevent cyberbullying and reduce other online risks.

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