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Help Scouts stamp out cyber-bullying

A report published today to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week has revealed a number of disquieting statistics relating to the activity and behaviour of young people online.

Cyber-bullying, the online abuse of one young person by another, is the focus of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week after it was recently ranked the number one bullying worry by young people.

The study, commissioned by McAfee and the Anti-Bullying Alliance, part of children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau, shows that in the UK:

  • Over a quarter (26 per cent) of children and teenagers spend four hours or more online every day.
  • More than half (53 per cent) go online in their own room, 46 per cent on a games console and 66 per cent on a personal smart phone.
  • Less than a quarter (23 per cent) of children who have sent a cruel or abusive comment to someone online consider it ‘mean’ to the person it was directed at, and just 9 per cent consider that behaviour to be cyber-bullying.
  • 15 per cent think if someone was upset by a mean comment directed at them online, they would be ‘over-reacting’.

Scouts can help to reverse these worrying trends by continuing to offer fun, friendship and adventure in a safe and supportive environment. We can teach young people to be considerate and respectful to others, as well as promoting teamwork and co-operation through our programme. This includes opportunities for young people to get outdoors, away from games consoles and computer screens.

But we also acknowledge that online activity is a key aspect of young people’s lives today. Social networks and the web offer opportunities to connect, engage and stay in touch with others – not least through events like JOTI, Scouting’s global Jamboree on the Internet. Many UK Scouts are active users of these technologies and platforms.

That’s why The Scout Association is supporting Anti-Bullying Week with the help of our partners BeatBullying, a multi-award winning UK charity that aims to empower young people to lead anti-bullying campaigns in their schools and local communities, including online spaces.

You can help your Scouts to take a stance against bullying among their friends and social networks by using the dedicated activity packs that have been produced for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. A guide and poster are also available to help prevent and tackle the issue of bullying should it occur in your Group or section.

More ideas to deal with all types of bullying, including cyber-bullying, are available here:

Tell us how you are getting involved in Anti-Bullying Week. Tweet us @UKScouting and share your stories via Facebook or email.



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