2014 has been a year of ups and downs regarding Bullying, Cyberbullying, Online Safety and the lives of teens and youth in general. We at NoBullying are adamant about our movement against bullying, harassment and discrimination and we persist in our endeavor to help create a better world for children to grow up in. Since creating a better environment starts with well-informed decisions, we present you with a special 2015 report on ‘The Complicated Web of Teens Lives’.
In this report, parents, teachers, activists and community members can learn more about bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, sexting, suicide, abuse and online safety.
For a website, titled NoBullying, it might seem odd for us to discuss topics such as mental health, depression and suicide. However, from our experience, they all intertwine into one scary web that is the grueling experience children, teens and adults go through when they have been bullied.
Types of Bullying
Latest General Bullying Statistics
Who Gets Bullied the Most?
Effects of Bullying
Who is the Bystander?
The Type of Bullying we Expect to be on the Rise in 2015
Cyber Bullying Statistics
Cyberbullying in the News in 2014
Child Pornography and Sexual Content Online
Glossary for Parents and Caregivers
Economic/ Financial Abuse
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Types of Depression Associated with Bullying Victims
- Final Note
Bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among people that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both persons who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”
In order for an act to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and needs to include:
An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Verbal bullying can simply be defined as saying or writing mean and nasty insults things. (No, words CAN hurt, Don’t convince yourself or your children of otherwise)
Verbal bullying includes:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling/ordering one person not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors
- Embarrassing/taunting someone in public
Physical bullying is the type of bullying that attempts or succeeds at hurting a person physically or damaging their personal possessions. Physical bullying includes:
- Taking or breaking someone’s belongings
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
Latest General Bullying Statistics
In The USA, according to PACER:
- Nearly 1 in 3 students report being bullied during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2013).
- 6% of high school students in the US report being bullied at school in the past year. 14.8% reported being bullied online (Center for Disease Control, 2014).
- 64 percent of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36 percent reported the bullying.
- More than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.
- School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%.
- The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%).
In the USA, High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that 3.1 % of high school students were injured in a physical fight and 8.1% were involved in a physical fight on school property while 7.1% did not go to school because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to or from school.
Ditch The Label released its annual report on the status of bullying in the United Kingdom in 2014, the report has been produced in partnership with 37 schools and colleges from across the UK and has surveyed over 5,000 young people aged 13-22.
The findings are as follows:
45% of the respondents said they have experienced bullied. Of the 45% of respondents who have experienced bullying 11% said they were bullied highly frequently and 16% said they were bullied often.
4% said they were highly frequently bullied physically and 6% said they were highly frequently bullied online and 3% said they were highly frequently bullied sexually.
As for the frequency of bullying, of the 45% who experienced bullying 26% said “I am bullied daily”. And 42% of them said they were bullied at least once a week.
One respondent, a 16 year old female UK resident said “I have been bullied for my entire life. I could never get away from the bullies, especially as some of them live with me. I blame myself for the bullying; I think I deserve it. After years of being told that I am fat, ugly, weird and should kill myself I have believed every word of what I have been told. After being emotionally and physically bullied, I turned to starving myself and self harm. It has pretty much ruined my life. I want to die but I couldn’t do that to mum, so I have to put up with it.”
While bullying has no one particular group of targets, statistics and research highlight certain groups that are more prone to being bullied than others. Those are:
1- People with weight problems
2- People with Disabilities
3- People who belong to racial or religious minorities
4- People who are LGBTQ or perceived as LGBTQ
Skinny or Fat, big boned or petite, athletic or born with metabolism related disorders, children and teens are sometimes faced with bullying because of their appearance, something they, at most times, cannot change about themselves.
In the USA, statistics refer to the following:
- 64% of students enrolled in weight-loss programs reported experiencing weight-based victimization (Puhl, Peterson, and Luedicke, 2012).
- One third of girls and one fourth of boys report weight-based teasing from peers, but prevalence rates increase to approximately 60% among the heaviest students (Puhl, Luedicke, and Heuer, 2011).
- 84% of students observed students perceived as overweight being called names or getting teased during physical activities (Puhl, Luedicke, and Heuer, 2011).
In the United Kingdom, according to Ditch the Label, of the 45% of young people who experienced bullying 33% said the bullying situations were based on their weight and/or their appearance in general.
2- People with Disabilities
Disabilities include educational and learning disabilities such as Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia among others. They also include disorders related to motor skills or disabilities causing changing in appearance. Children and Teens afflicted with these disorders can have a harder time dealing with bullying because of said conditions.
Several studies, including this one, reveal that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled peers.
Researchers discovered that students with disabilities were more worried about school safety and being injured or harassed by other peers compared to students without a disability.
The National Autistic Society reports that 40 percent of children with autism and 60 percent of children with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying.
In the United Kingdom, of those 45% who experienced bullying, 7% said they were bullied because they have some sort of disability.
Autistic children and children with Asperger’s syndrome in the United Kingdom have said when it comes to being bullied because of their learning disabilities on a scale of 1-10 (1 being strongly disagree and 10 being strongly agree) the total response was 3.2
3- People who Belong to Racial or Religious Minorities
Regardless of pre-conceived prejudice towards certain religious or racial groups, it is without a doubt that children, teens and youths who belong to “different” or “out of the norm” racial and religious groups do face harassment and bullying because of their status as part of that particular group.
In the USA, more than one third of adolescents are reporting bullying mention bias-based school bullying (Russell, Sinclair, Poteat, and Koenig, 2012).
Bias-based bullying is more strongly associated with compromised health than general bullying (Russell, Sinclair, Poteat, and Koenig, 2012).
Race-related bullying is significantly associated with negative emotional and physical health effects (Rosenthal et al, 2013)
In the UK, of those 45% of school students who reported experiencing bullying, 7% said they were bullied because of their race and another 6% reported receiving comments about their religion and 5% heard demeaning comments about their ethnic culture.
4- People who are LGBTQ or Perceived as LGBTQ
Homosexual, bisexual, transsexual or transgender and questioning, a person’s sexual orientation and/or identity can cause alienation from groups, nasty name-calling and outright physical assaults.
In The United States, The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) produced the 2013 National School Climate Survey. The survey was conducted online with a total of 7,898 students between the ages of 13 and 21. Students were from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and from 2,770 unique school districts. About two thirds of the sample (68.1%) was White, slightly less than half (43.6%) was cis-gender female, and over half identified as gay or lesbian (58.8%). Students were in grades 6 to 12, with the largest numbers in grades 10 and 11.
The results were:
- 5% of LGBT students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37.8% because of their gender expression.
- 3% of LGBT students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and over a tenth (10.6%) missed four or more days in the past month.
- 4% of LGBT students heard “gay” used in a negative way (e.g., “that’s so gay”) frequently or often at school, and 90.8% reported that they felt distressed because of this language.
- 5% heard other homophobic remarks (e.g., “dyke” or “faggot”) frequently or often.
- 4% heard negative remarks about gender expression (not acting “masculine enough” or “feminine enough”) frequently or often.
- 4% of students reported hearing homophobic remarks from their teachers or other school staff, and 55.5% of students reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression from teachers or other school staff.
- 1% of LGBT students were verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55.2% because of their gender expression.
- 2% were physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 22.7% because of their gender expression.
- 5% were physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked, injured with a weapon) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 11.4% because of their gender expression.
- 6% of the students who did report an incident said that school staff did nothing in response.
In the UK:
According to the same Ditch the Label Survey, of those 45% who experienced bullying, 7% experienced hearing homophobic remarks and 2% experienced hearing trans-phobic remarks.
Stonewall reported in its Teachers report for 2014 that Almost nine in ten secondary school teachers (86 per cent) and almost half of primary school teachers (45 per cent) surveyed say pupils in their schools have experienced homophobic bullying.
- The vast majority of teachers – nine in ten in secondary schools (89 per cent) and seven in ten in primary schools (70 per cent) – hear pupils use expressions like ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’.
- Two thirds of secondary school teachers (65 per cent) and a third of primary school teachers (32 per cent) have heard pupils use terms like ‘poof’, ‘faggot’, ‘dyke’ and ‘queer’.
- More than half of secondary school teachers (55 per cent) and four in ten primary school teachers (42 per cent) say they don’t challenge homophobic language every time they hear it.
- The good news is Nine in ten teachers – 92 per cent in secondary schools and 90 per cent in primary schools – believe that school staff have a duty to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying. Almost all teachers who have addressed sexual orientation issues or same-sex parents in the classroom would do so again (97 per cent in secondary schools, 91 per cent in primary schools).
Children and teens who are bullied suffer from short term and long term consequences due to being bullied. Physically, signs of fatigue, insomnia, shaky hands, loss of appetite will begin to manifest while psychologically bullied teens and children tend to become more withdrawn and introverted while complaining about their lack of desire to go to school or see friends. Depression, suicidal ideation and sometimes tendency for irritation and violence also present itself in bullying victims.
The statistics say in the USA, According to the High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey that 29.9% of those surveyed felt sad or hopeless (almost every day for 2 or more weeks in a row so that they stopped doing some usual activities during the 12 months before the survey) while another 13.6% made a plan about how they would attempt suicide. 8 % (which is roughly about 11982 respondents) have attempted suicide at least once, another 2.7% attempted suicide that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment (Center for Disease Control, 2012).
Students who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood (Center for Disease Control, 2012).
There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationship is often mediated by other factors, including depression and delinquency (Hertz, Donato, and Wright, 2013).
Youth victimized by their peers were 2.4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.3 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than youth who reported not being bullied (Espelage and Holt, 2013).
In the United Kingdom, according to Ditch the Label, the 45% who have experienced bullying were asked to rate on a scale of 1-10 the impact that the bullying had on varying aspects of their lives (1 indicates not at all, 5 somewhat and 10 an extreme impact), the answers were as follows:
- 78% felt that bullying had a negative impact on their social life
- 52% felt that bullying had a negative impact on their home life
- 83% felt that bullying had a negative impact on their self esteem
- The same 45% who experienced bullying were asked to narrate/list behaviors they had exhibited as a direct result of bullying. They said:
- 30% have self harmed (a 6% rise since 2013)
- 30% have had suicidal thoughts (a 5% rise since 2013)
- 10% have tried to kill themselves
- 7% have bullied others as a result of being bullied
The “who” in a bullying situation
Think of any bullying situation, chances are there are three types of people involved in a bullying situation, there is the bully, the bullied and the bystander.
The bystander happens to be present when the act of aggression is happening by the bully towards the bullying victims.
The bystander, sadly, usually refrains from reporting or stopping the bullying because of fear of being targeted next by the bully or called a tattle-tail by friends and colleagues at school or online. One statistic highlights it all in the United Kingdom 39% of bullied youths have never told anybody and the 30% of all students surveyed said they have witnessed bullying of others but told no one.
Also, bullied youth were most likely to report that actions that accessed support from others made a positive difference (Davis and Nixon, 2010).
Actions aimed at changing the behavior of the bullying youth (fighting, getting back at them, telling them to stop, etc.) were rated as more likely to make things worse (Davis and Nixon, 2010).
Students who experience bullying report that allying and supportive actions from their peers (such as spending time with the student, talking to him/her, helping him/her get away, or giving advice) were the most helpful actions from bystanders (Davis and Nixon, 2010).
Students who experience bullying are more likely to find peer actions helpful than educator or self-actions (Davis and Nixon, 2010).
Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterwards to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice (Davis and Nixon, 2010).
Students reported that the most harmful things teachers can do are: tell the student to solve the problem themselves, tell the student that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored what was going on, or tell the student to stop tattling (Davis and Nixon, 2010).
This is the preparing ground for future sexual assaults and rape. In large peer groups, boys and girls face the following aspects of sexual bullying which are:
- Abusive, sexualised name calling
- Spreading rumours of a sexual nature
- Inappropriate and uninvited touching
- Inappropriate sexual innuendo and/or proposition
- Graffiti with sexual content
- Display/circulation of inappropriate material of a sexual nature
- Badges or clothing depicting inappropriate sexual innuendo or language
- In its most extreme form, sexual assault or rape
In the United States, 7.3% of high school students surveyed were physically forced to have sexual intercourse (when they did not want to) and 10.3% experienced physical dating violence and lastly 10.4% experienced sexual dating violence.
In the United Kingdom, of those 45% who experienced bullying, 25% have experienced sexual bullying and 10% have experienced sexual assault at least once.
Cyberbullying is defined as any bullying that happens online or via phone. i.e. on social networking sites, via text or email and it usually includes insults, threats, harassment and abusive language.
The effects and types of cyber bullying out there are numerous and they are all equally abusive and can leave severe consequences on the victim’s part.
From rumor spreading to trolling and online abuse, Cyber Bullying continues to be the one form of abuse a victim cannot escape as it haunts him/her 24 hours a day seven days a week and can be seen, read, saved and shared by a vast number or people.
There are several types of cyber bullying and online abuse such as the following:
Imagine receiving hateful threatening messages on daily basis from a person you may know online, know in real life or not know at all. Revenge porn falls under this category.
This is when the victim finds out his/her personal information, location, school location, phone number, photos and other personal items published online for everyone to see/use against the victim.
3- Victim Blaming/slut shaming
A person creates a fake social media profile to protect his/her anonymity while sending hateful messages/photos/videos to the victim.
In the United States, High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey identifies that 13,501 or 14.8% of students surveyed nationwide were electronically bullied(including being bullied through e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting during the 12 months before the survey) 14.8% 13,501
In the United Kingdom, the Ditch the label annual bullying survey of 2014 identified that of those45% who experienced bullying 55% have experienced cyberbullying.
As for the Ditch the label annual cyber bullying survey of 2013, over 10,000 young people were surveyed and it was reported that:
– 7 in 10 young people are victims of cyberbullying
– 37% young people experiencing are cyberbullying on a highly frequent basis
– 20% of young people are experiencing extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis
– New research suggests that young males and females are equally at risk of cyberbullying
– Young people found to be twice as likely to be cyberbullied on Facebook than on any other social network
– 54% of young people using Facebook reported that they have experienced cyberbullying on the network
– Facebook, Ask.FM and Twitter found to be the most likely sources of cyberbullying
– Cyberbullying found to have catastrophic effects upon the self-esteem and social lives of up to 70% of young people
– An estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have experienced cyberbullying, with
– 1.26 million subjected to extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis.
The same survey refers to the fact that from over 10000 young people asked, 75% of them use Facebook and of those 54% reported being cyberbullied, making facebook the top place where people are facing online harassment and cyber bullying.
The second place goes to Youtube as 66% of them reported using it and of those 21% reported being cyberbullied on it.
Third place goes to Twitter, as 43% of those asked are using it and of them 28% experienced cyberbullying on it.
Fourth place goes to ask.fm where 36% reported using and of them 26% reported being cyberbullied on it.
The fifth spot goes to Instagram where 24% report using it and of that 24% have experienced cyberbullying on it.
Older research from 2010 (used here for comparison) showed that in one year alone, 13 per cent of UK children aged 9-16 experienced something on the internet as a whole which upset or worried them.
Over one in four children aged 11-16 with a profile on a social networking site have experienced something upsetting on it in the last year (28 percent) , and of those who were upset, 11 per cent were dealing with this on a daily basis. While most children recovered quickly from their experience, some took weeks or months to get over it.
One of the most noteworthy surveys to appear in 2014 was the Wireless Report launched by Ditch the Label which examined how teens in the UK use social networks and the amount of abuse they receive. The total sample size was: 2,732 young people aged 13-25 in the United Kingdom and the average age was 17.3.
74% of respondents used Snapchat, 68% used Instagram, 67% used Skype, 59% used Kik and 11% used Tinder.
47% of all respondents said they experienced some form of abuse on one or more of social networking apps with 62% receiving nasty private messages and 40% receiving nasty hateful comments about their photos. 42% experienced hateful comments (trans-phobic, homophobic, racist or xenophobic remarks) while 28% said their private information (name, family name, home address, personal email address, photos or phone number) shared without their consent or desire.
An astounding 22% receiving threats over one or more social networking apps with one respondent receiving the following message ““I will hack your account, I’ll beat you up at school, I will go to your house and beat you up and I will get people to beat you up if you don’t say sorry.”
When it comes to reporting online abuse, 48% said they reported the abuse, of this percentage only 41% said they were happy with the outcome and 26% said the report wasn’t taken seriously with 5% said reporting made the situation worse and 22% saying they never had a response to their report.
The 52% who said they didn’t report the abuse had conflicting answers as to why they didn’t report the incidents. 28% didn’t believe the incident was serious enough to report, 19% said cyber bullying isn’t taken seriously, 11% said they were scared reporting would make the situation worse and 6% admitted not knowing the right most efficient way to report online abuse.
As for the effects of cyber bullying, of the 48% who experienced online abuse 49% experienced a lower self esteem and 47% experienced serious insecurity about their behavior and appearance, 28% said they retaliated and sent something hateful right back and 24% said they resorted to self harm to deal with their emotions.
Here is more for you to learn on the status of Cyberbullying in News worldwide:
The Story of Rebecca Sedwick
Amanda Todd Related Arrest
Rehtaeh Parsons Remembered
Online safety seems like a difficult topic to understand, especially for busy parents and caregivers who fail to understand almost all the terminology involved in the cyber world. Nonetheless, teens and children seem to become more tech savvy every day and parents need to be more aware of the aspects of the cyber world and how to steer clear from potential dangers to their children’s online safety.
In order to better understand how Online Safety is faring in today’s world we need to understand the several dangers that can be present whenever caution isn’t.
Children and Teens online can fall prey to:
Cyber Bullying and Online Harassment
Child Pornography and Sexual Content
While we have covered Cyber Bullying and Online Harassment in a previous chapter of this guide, we now begin examining the latest trends, numbers and prevention methods for Online Predators, Child Pornography and Sexual Content, Online Dating Scams as well as hacking. All are items on a sadly long list of potential harmful things anyone can face online.
An Online Predator, also called internet predator and cyber predator, is a person who uses the various options online to basically hunt, groom and lure another person, usually a minor, into performing actions that are illegal whether they are sexual, emotionally abusive or physiologically depraved. Online predators usually manipulate children by creating trust and friendship where none should exist.
The Numbers don’t lie:
73% of children who have offline sexual encounters with offenders do so more than once.
Online predators tend to fall between the ages of 18 & 55. Their targets tend to be between the ages of 11 & 15.
Teens are willing to meet with strangers: 16% of teens considered meeting someone they’ve only talked to online and 8% have actually met someone they only knew online. Currently, there are over 747,408 Registered Sex Offenders in the United States and only 265000 are under the supervision of correction agencies (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2012).
While we couldn’t find recent related statistics on the status of Sexual Predators in the United Kingdom, we have found the below data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales to be eye opening.
Based on aggregated data from the ‘Crime Survey for England and Wales’ in 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12, on average, 2.5 per cent of females and 0.4 per cent of males said that they had been a victim of a sexual offence (including attempts) in the previous 12 months. This represents around 473,000 adults being victims of sexual offences (around 404,000 females and 72,000 males) on average per year. These experiences span the full spectrum of sexual offences, ranging from the most serious offences of rape and sexual assault, to other sexual offences like indecent exposure and unwanted touching. The vast majority of incidents reported by respondents to the survey fell into the other sexual offences category.
It is estimated that 0.5 per cent of females report being a victim of the most serious offences of rape or sexual assault by penetration in the previous 12 months, equivalent to around 85,000 victims on average per year. Among males, less than 0.1 per cent (around 12,000) report being a victim of the same types of offences in the previous 12 months.
Around one in twenty females (aged 16 to 59) reported being a victim of a most serious sexual offence since the age of 16. Extending this to include other sexual offences such as sexual threats, unwanted touching or indecent exposure, this increased to one in five females reporting being a victim since the age of 16.
In order to understand how Online predators function, it is essential to understand the concept of Grooming. Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation.
Children and young people can be groomed online, or by someone they have met – for example a family member, friend or professional.
Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.
Many children and young people don’t understand that they have been groomed, or that what has happened is abuse
Grooming happens both online and in person. Groomers will hide their true intentions and may spend a long time gaining a child’s trust. They may also try to gain the trust of the whole family so they can be alone with the child.
Once trust is established, groomers will exploit the relationship by isolating the child from friends or family and making the child feel dependent on them. They will use any means of power or control to make a child believe they have no choice but to do what they want.
Groomers may introduce ‘secrets’ as a way to control or frighten the child. Sometimes they will blackmail the child, or make them feel ashamed or guilty, to stop them from telling anyone about the abuse.
Can grooming happen online?
“Groomers” can easily hide their identity online, as children and young people often chat or become ‘friends’ with people they don’t know on social networking websites or chatrooms.
Typically groomers tend to target children or teens that use usernames or comments that are flirtatious or have a sexual meaning or comments that portray the child or teen in question as one with low self-esteem or vulnerability.
Children can be sexually abused online by being asked by the groomer to send out sexually explicit images of themselves or take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone. Afterwards, the abuser may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person’s friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity or to meet them in person.
Red Alert: Children may not speak out about the abuse because they are ashamed, feeling guilty or even not realizing that this pseudo relationship is actually abuse, some of them might even defend the abuser or call him/her their boyfriend/girlfriend.
In 2012, Childline reported receiving 413 calls/contacts/tips and 60% of these call mentioned one or more aspects related to online grooming. 1,145 reports were made about online grooming to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) in 2012.
Child pornography is any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Children can easily view or receive sexually explicit content from strangers or people they know, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Thirty-four percent (34%) had unwanted exposure to sexual material – pictures of naked people or people having sex. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the youth who encountered unwanted sexual material told a parent or guardian. If the encounter was defined as distressing (episodes that made them feel very or extremely upset or afraid) forty-two percent (42%) told a parent or guardian.
Since its establishment in March 1998 through December 2012, the CyberTipline has received more than 1.7 million reports involving the possession, manufacture, and distribution of child
pornography; the online enticement of children for sex acts; child prostitution; child sex-tourism; child molestation not in the family; unsolicited obscene material sent to a child; and misleading domain names, words, or digital images.
You, as a parent, need to remember that Child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online with over 3 billion dollar is revenue annually. In 2008, Internet Watch Foundation found 1,536 individual child abuse domains. Of all known child abuse domains, 58 percent are housed in the United States.
In a study of arrested child pornography possessors, 40 percent had both sexually victimized children and were in possession of child pornography.
Whether you are using parental control software or not, teens and children are rebellious by nature, that means they will not be sharing everything happening in their online world. The same way you didn’t tell your parents about what happened on your prom night or one Saturday night sleepover at your friend’s house. That doesn’t mean you should learn how to read into your teen’s text or IMs if you pass by it accidentally, remember that you shouldn’t spy on your teen’s online activity behind their back because, as a responsible parent, you should be communicating the concept of privacy with them.
Here are some of the most essential text abbreviations and language your teen might be using.
|SUYF||Shut Up You Fool||121||One to one (private chat invitation)|
|411||All the information||420||Let’s get high/marijuana use|
|BAK||Back At Keyboard||BBIAS||Be back in a second|
|BOT||Back On Topic||BRB||Be Right Back|
|BTW||By the way||CD9||Code 9 which means ‘parents are around’|
|CRS||Can’t Remember “Stuff”||CU||See You|
|CUL(8R)||See You Later||CWOT||Complete Waste Of Time/td>|
|CYA||See Ya||DITYID||Did I Tell You I’m Distressed?|
|EOD||End Of Discussion||EZ||Easy|
|F2F||Face To Face||/ga||Go Ahead|
|GAL||Get A Life||GBTW||Get Back To Work|
|GFETE||Grinning From Ear To Ear||GTR||Got to run|
|HAND||Have A Nice Day||HHIS||Head hanging in shame|
|HHOK||Ha Ha Only Kidding||HTH||Hope This Helps|
|IAE||In Any Event||IC||I See|
|ILBL8||I’ll be late||IMHO||In My Humble Opinion|
|IOTTMCO||Intuitively Obvious To The Most Casual Observer||IRL||In Real Life|
|JIC||Just In Case||JK||Just kidding|
|KK||Okay, okay (I understand what you are saying)||KISS||Keep It Simple Stupid|
|L8TR||Later||LOL||Laughing Out Loud|
|LTHTT||Laughing too hard to type||LTNS||Long Time No See|
|LYLAB||Love you like a brother||LYLAS||Love you like a sister|
|MorF||Male or Female, or person who asks that question||MTCW||My Two Cents Worth|
|NP||Nosy parents||NRN||No Reply Necessary|
|OMG||Oh my God!||OTF||On The Floor|
|OLL||Online Love (code for cyber sex)||P911||Parents coming into room (alert)|
|PAW||9 parents are watching||PCMCIA||People Can’t Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms|
|PIR||Parents in room||POV||Parent over shoulder (if used by teenagers)|
|PSOS||Parents standing over shoulder||PU||That Stinks!|
|2C4U||Too cool for you||2FB||Too freaking bad|
|SMH||Smacking my head||BD||Big deal|
|BBB||Boring beyond belief||BUF||Big, ugly, fat|
|H8TTU||Hate to be you||D/C or DC||Don’t care|
|FML||F*** my life||GMAFB||Give me a friggin’ break|
|HML||Hate my life||H8T||Hate|
|BM||Bite me||HMP||Help me please|
|PITA||pain in the butt||IHU or IHY||I hate you|
|NOYB||None of your business||NVM||Nevermind|
|TPT||Trailer park trash||YRSL||You are so lame|
|LMBO||Laughing my butt off||GAL||Get a life|
|JFK||Just for kicks||MYOB||Mind your own business|
|STBU||Sucks to be you||GOMB||Get off my back|
|YBS||You will be sorry||DYNWUTB||Do you know what you are talking about?|
|ESAD||Eat s*** and die||FBF||“fat boy” food or food eaten by overweight people (e.g. fries, burgers, pizza)|
|FICCL||Frankly, I couldn’t care a less||FWIW||For what it’s worth|
|GAC||Get a clue||GIAR||Give it a rest|
|LAY||Laughing at you||LIC||Like I care|
|NFW||No freaking way||RME||Rolling my eyes|
|SOL||Sooner or later||SSINF||So stupid it’s not funny|
|TD2M||Talk dirty to me||TMOT||Trust me on this|
|FYEO||For your eyes only||NOLM||No one loves me|
|YOLO||You Only Live Once|
Sexting can be easily defined as sending or asking to receive sexually suggestive or explicit messages and photos via texting, emails or messaging applications.
Recent surveys in 2014 have shown that 39% of teens between the ages of 13-19 have sent at least one sext message and 48% have received one sext message. As for the higher demographic (20-26), statistics show that 59% of people in that age demographic has sent a sext message and 64 have received a sext message. 50% of sexting may be coercive with twice as many girls than boys being affected.
Ditch the Label released its annual Wireless report in 2014 with an entire chapter dedicated to Sexting in the United Kingdom. In the report, 37% of the survey’s respondents said they have sent at least on nude or semi nude photo to someone. 6% said they sent nude photos several times a week and 14% said they did it once.
63% of those who sent one or more nude photo said the photos were sent to a boyfriend/girlfriend, 29% said they sent them to somebody they are casually dating, 19% sent these photos to someone they don’t know well and only met through a chatting app while 24% sent them to someone they just “know ONLY online”.
As for the reasons why they would send naked photos of themselves, 49% said it is harmless fun, 39% did it to receive photos back, 16% felt it was a normal thing to do, another 16% said they did it because everybody else is doing it and 13% did it out of being pressured into it.
Those we admitted sending one or more naked photo to another party were asked if, to their knowledge, someone has passed on or shared their own nude photos without their consent or approval, 24% said yes and 76% said no. When these 24% were asked to elaborate on the consequences of having their photos shared with third parties, 32% reported feeling less confident and 26% had suicidal thoughts while 24% resorted to self harming and 2% started sending nude photos of others without their consent as well.
The good thing is when those who never sent a naked photo were asked as to their reasons for not doing it they reported the following as their top reasons: 73% said they just didn’t want to, 57% said it is not a good thing to do, 49% said “it could affect me later in life”, 45% said there were scared of it being shared without their consent and 39% said they wouldn’t want their families to find out.
McAfee had some interesting numbers to report on Its Secret Online Lives of Teens Survey.
The findings were as follows:
39% of parents of 10- to 23-year-olds claim to have parental controls on computers & mobiles.
Only 23% of 10- to 23-year-olds agree that parents have above controls.
74% of parents of 10- to -23-year-olds claim they don’t have the time to keep up with online advancements.
23% of parents of 10- to 23-year-olds admitted that they are not monitoring their children online behaviours for above reason.
70% of 10- to 23-year-olds have discovered ways to avoid parental monitoring.
34% of 10- to 23-year-olds hide or delete images or videos.
10% of 10- to 23-year-olds have unlocked parental controls to disable filtering.
22% of 10- to 23-year-olds admit to using a mobile phone or password to hide activities from parents.
38% of 10- to 23-year-olds would feel offended if they found out their parents were spying on them with Facebook parental controls.
Another survey published by Net Children Go Mobile in February 2014 showed that 21% of children have seen sexual images in the past 12 months online or offline.
20% of children have been bothered by something on the internet in the past 12 months.
4% of children aged 11-12 say that they have received sexual messages in the past 12 months.
10% of children aged 13-14 say that they have received sexual messages in the past 12 months.
22% of children aged 15-16 say that they have received sexual messages in the past 12 months.
How to stop Sexting and stop loved ones from Sexting:
This conversation works perfectly with children and teens, as a parent you need to use what we call the “Think Before You Send” Conversation. This is the essential script for the conversation and it is as follows:
Before you hit send you need to answer the following questions:
What could happen to me if I hit send/post/tweet?
Once you press send, that photo is out there in the open and is no longer controlled by you. Nothing can ever be totally “wiped” online. It can shared, posted and reposted and saved to a hard drive and there is no way to govern that. it is no longer in your control. It can end up on porn sites.
Who might see my photo?
That doesn’t matter now, what really matters is : is this a photo you are o.k with your father, mother, family, friends, teachers and college recruiters seeing? Remember that even if you completely trust the person you are sending the photo to, other people using their phone might accidentally see it or they might lose their phone and your photo can end up in the wrong hands.
Even if you use an app like Snapchat, the person can take a screenshot in seconds and the photos can be saved forever.
Why do you want to send a naked photo or text?
If you want to impress that person and make them like you, you can do it in other ways. Sexting can be a double edged sword, that person you are trying to impress may pretend to like you or tell you that you are cool but the truth is they might think you are cheap or slutty or demand more sexual things you don’t want to do and you are not ready for. Sexting can make you seem like a person you are really not.
In the United Kingdom
If sexting photos or videos are on your phone or laptop or any device and you are under the age of 18, you are still a child in the eyes of the law. You could be charged with the “possession of an indecent image of a child” which is a criminal offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The same applies for sharing “sexts” or “selfies” for you or your friends if any of you are under the age of 18.
In the United States
There are no federal laws against sexting yet, but 20 American states have sexting laws. Most of these states consider the sending or receiving of nude photos under the age of 18 to be a criminal offence and in some states even sexually explicit text messaging by minors or sent to minors is considered a crime punishable by the law.
Abuse is defined as the systematic pattern of behaviors that are used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another. There are many forms of abuse but the five major types of abuse out there are:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional/Psychological Abuse
- Verbal Abuse
- Economic/ Financial Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Child Abuse, Dating Abuse and Domestic Abuse (Also called Domestic Violence) are another way of categorizing abuse. Any sort of abuse can be an essential factor in creating a bully, if a bully is abused at home or in a relationship, chances are he/she will attempt to abuse/bully someone else to create a perceived balance of power in his/her brain.
Let’s discover what you need to know about Abuse in 2014
Physical Abuse involves harmful physical contact by one person with another to assert dominance and power. Physical abuse could include hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, biting, punching, throwing things at a person, or some other physical contact action that causes harm or fear repeatedly. Physical Abuse is usually based on resentment, anger management problems, rage issues or could be simply based on a particular attribute of a person or a general sentiment that the victim is weaker and can’t effectively defend or fight back. Children with disabilities, whether physical or mental or afflicted with learning disabilities such as Autism, Dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, are more prone to being physically abused or bullied because they are perceived to be weaker or “less” than others.
Since children and teens are our most important concerns, we have found the following numbers related to physical abuse of children to be quite eye opening:
In the United States, 681,000 children are abused each year and 17.6 % of them are abused physically. Of all the 681,000 children abused in the United States, the perpetrator in 80.9% of all cases is a parent.
In the United Kingdom, 20% of contacts in 2012/2013 to the NSPCC’s helpline were concerns about physical abuse to children. According to this study, published in 2011, 1 in 14 children have been physically abused in the United Kingdom.
Emotional abuse can be defined as causing trauma to a victim by acts, threats of acts or coercive tactics, all to intimidate, inspire fear in and manipulate the victim. It is any behavior performed with the intent to control another person without resorting to the more obvious form of abuse which is physical abuse. Emotional Abuse is the most widespread and prevalent type of abuse as it is the least obvious one and is quite hard to detect or prove as it leaves no visible or noticeable scars or injuries.
That doesn’t mean, because there are no scars, the victim isn’t afflicted or devastated. This type of abuse sets the pace of the victim’s mentality for the rest of their lives, turning them into abusive characters when they grow up.
You, or your loved one, may be a victim of Emotional Abuse if one or more of these acts are done by someone:
If he/she threats or uses intimidation to control you
If he/she calls you names or mocks you in front of others or when you are alone with them
If he/she humiliates or shames you
If he/she insists on making every decision
If he/she isolates you from others
In the United States alone, of the 681,000 children abused every year, 9% received emotional/psychological abuse or maltreatment.
In the United Kingdom, while there were no recent statistics on emotional abuse, one study in , found here, on the impact of childhood adversity on the risk of psychosis (mostly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) reported that emotional abuse increased the risk of psychosis the most (by 3.4 times). Another study found that the emotionally abused were 12 times more likely to be schizophrenic than the general population (compared with six times for the physically abused and twice as likely for the sexually abused). Adolescents were followed for 15 years and it was found that over a third became schizophrenic if both parents were hostile, critical and intrusive.
The NSPCC says that Emotional Abuse is the second most common reason for children needing protection from abuse.
Verbal abuse is basically described as donning a negative defining statement told in words to the victim or about the victim, or by withholding any response (silence). It turns from a wrong choice of words into verbal abuse if the abuser does not immediately apologize and retract the defining statement.
For children and teens (online or in school), verbal abuse or verbal bullying is used to gain status as superior to the person targeted and to bond with others against the target.
In the United States, Safe Voices reports that 62% of Tweens (age 11-14) who have been in a relationship say they know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc) by a boyfriend/girlfriend. More than 1 in 4 teenage girls in a relationship (26%) report enduring repeated verbal abuse.
Economic/ Financial Abuse can be defined as withholding funds or finances or controlling the income of the family to gain power/control over the victim (s).
The National Coalition against Domestic Violence illustrates the premise of economic/financial abuse as follow:
1- Batterers control victims’ finances to prevent them from accessing resources, working or maintaining control of earnings, achieving self-sufficiency, and gaining financial independence.
2- The abuser can interfere with or prevent education, job training, and the ability to find and keep a job.
3- Lack of income is a common reason victims cite for staying in abusive relationships.
Here is Economic/ Financial Abuse in numbers in the United States, according to NCDV:
Between 35% and 56% of victims of intimate partner violence are harassed at work by their abusers.
- Over 1.75 million workdays are lost as a result of domestic violence each year.
- Between 1/4 and 1/2 of domestic violence victims report that they have lost a job due to domestic violence.
- Economic abuse occurs across all socio-economic levels.
For an easier understanding, Sexual Abuse is split into two main categories, Sexual Abuse and Child Sexual Abuse, the main separator is the age of consent.
Sexual abuse (molestation), is defined as forcing undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser. The term also covers any behavior by any adult towards a child to stimulate either the adult or child sexually. When the victim is younger than the age of consent, it is referred to as child sexual abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse can take many forms. It can involve indecent exposure to a child with the intent of gratifying an offender’s own sexual desires, to groom a child for sexual contact, or to involve them in child pornography. With this in mind, it is easy to understand that child sexual abuse is considered an umbrella term used to describe what can be classified as either criminal or civil offenses in which most often an adult takes sexual advantage of a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification.
As for numbers, of the 681,000 children abused annually in the United States, 9.1 % have been abused sexually.
Generally speaking, approximately 30% of sexual assault cases are reported to authorities. 9.3% of cases of maltreatment of children in 2012 were classified as sexual abuse. 62,939 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2012.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Criminal Victimization Survey, in 2012, there were 346,830 reported rapes or sexual assaults of persons 12 years or older.
The National Center for PTSD reported in 2012 that only 1 in 10 sexual abuse cases involve a stranger. Which translates into a simple fact: 9 out of 10 times, the abuser is someone the child is familiar with, such as a family member, friend of the family, teacher, or neighbor. The abuser is usually a male also, no matter the gender of the victim.
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated (ex: by abuse of alcohol and/or drugs) , or below the legal age of consent. When an adult sexually assaults a minor it is then called “Statutory Rape”.
Rape made headlines several times in the past two years and caught our eye for several reasons.
1- Rapes are now photographed and tweeted, posted and shared by teens as they happen and slut shaming ensues. Case and Point: Steubenville Rape
2- Date Rape numbers are increasing with The Center for Family Justice defining date rape as occurring “when there is forced or coerced sex within a dating relationship.” They substantiate that nearly 2/3 of rape victims between 18 to 29 years old report having a prior dating relationship with their attacker. Date rape for generally involves any attempts or actual act of forcing someone to have any type of sex against their will or drugging the date so that the victim no longer has the capacity to resist or say “no.”
In the USA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its Uniform Crime Report for 2013 and in which it was reported that there were an estimated 79,770 reported to law enforcement in 2013. This estimate was 6.3 percent lower than the 2012 estimate, and 10.6 percent and 16.1 percent lower than the 2009 and 2004 estimates, respectively.
The rate of rapes in 2013 was estimated at 25.2 per 100,000 females.
RAINN, or Rape, Abuse& Incest National Network said that 44% of rape victims are under the age of 18 and one American is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds with an average of 293,000 child sexual assault victims at age 12 and older every year. 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police and an astounding 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Also, approximately two thirds of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance to the victim.
In the United Kingdom, the Office for National Statistics released its Crime Statistics report for the year ending September 2014 and in which it was reported that he numbers of reported rapes for that period are 24,043 cases and other sexual offences were 48,934 cases and are the highest recorded by the police since 2002/03. The silver lining is that this is thought to reflect a greater willingness of victims to come forward to report such crimes.
What is Depression?
Depression, also known as major depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest. Depression affects how the person feels, behaves and thinks and it is not to be confused with the stress and sadness that can happen from the challenges of daily life. Depression can lead to emotional and physical problems for the patient. Depressed individuals find a certain degree of difficulty that can be depilating when it comes to their day-to-day activities, and may also feel that life is not worth living.
There is no ONE SET of defining symptoms and signs of depression. How severe the symptoms are, and how long the depression symptoms last depends on the individual and the type of depression he/she has. The most common symptoms of depression:
- Constant feelings of sadness, anxiety, and emptiness
- Pessimistic Outlook on life (the glass is always half empty)
- Losing interest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed
- Loss of libido
- Lower levels of energy and constant fatigue
- Issues with focus, concentration, failure to remember details, and inability to make decisions
- Disturbance in Sleep patterns
- Change in eating habits
- Suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation
- More complaints of aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
According to the World Health Organization, there is an estimated 350 million people affected with depression worldwide. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide results in an estimated 1 million deaths every year.
WHO also reports that although there are known, common and effective treatments for depression, fewer than half of those affected in the world are able to receive these treatments.
Types of Depression and Bullying: Types of Depression
There are several types of depression that may affect individuals who have been bullied which are Clinical Depression (or in some books Major Depression), Chronic Depression, Psychotic Depression and Atypical depression.
Clinical depression is when the person finds it difficult to even go about their daily lives, showering is a tough task and food is a no go. Symptoms often include a sense of despair and overwhelming hopelessness, inability to sleep, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.
The one difference between chronic depression and major depression is that Chronic Depression is considered less severe and doesn’t completely disable an individual in the same way major depression does. Chronic depression, however, is long term and is usually diagnosed after a person has suffered for at least two years. The symptoms are less severe but last for a longer period of time.
Psychotic Depression is a disorder that is a combination of some kind of depression coupled with a psychosis. Those who suffer from a psychosis may hear voices or have hallucinations. These individuals generally have had some sort of break with reality. Other symptoms may include an inability to communicate in a coherent manner.
Atypical depression is one of the least understood types of depressions. There are physical symptoms such as having a heavy feeling in the arms and legs. Sleeping and eating excessively are two of the most prominent symptoms of this type of depression.
When children are bullied, they may even develop other disorders such as Agoraphobia, which is an extreme fear of being in places where the individual might feel trapped or helpless. This fear for the bullied victim is usually associated with some sort of public place where they faced abuse or bullying.
According to US Census Bureau, 5.4% of the entire American population suffers from depression. In the age demographic (12-17), 4.3% suffer from depression. 18.8 million Americans suffer from depressive disorders and 4% of preschoolers are clinically depressed and the rate of increase of depression among children has gone up 23%. Also, 15% of depressed people will end up committing suicide.
In the United Kingdom, the Office for National Statistics released a report titled “Measuring National Well-being, Exploring the Well-being of Young People in the UK, 2014” Around 1 in 5 young people aged 16 to 24 in the UK reported some symptoms of anxiety or depression in 2011-12.
Also, according to a study of 1,435 newly sentenced prisoners, 16 per cent of prisoners were reported to be experiencing symptoms indicative of psychosis. Nearly half were judged to be at risk of having anxiety or depression. The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report points out to the fact that back in 2005, depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with almost 9% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis.
Suicide basically is the act of intentionally causing one’s death. While there are no definite precursors or symptoms of suicidal ideation, suicide is often carried out as a result of despair, the cause of which is frequently attributed to a mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism, or drug abuse. Stress also plays a significant role in the buildup to suicide attempts with factors such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships.
There are a few terms associated with suicide that need elaborating:
Suicide: this is actual death caused by behavior where the only intent is to die.
Suicide Attempt: action inspired by behavior intended to cause one’s death but results in non-fatal injuries. A suicide attempt may or may not result in injury.
Suicidal Ideation: Thinking about, considering, researching or planning for suicide.
Suicidal Behavior: uttering words, or doing actions that signify a desire to end one’s life.
Bullying behavior or being a bully or a bullying victim is a widely known suicide stressor, meaning that being bullied causes enough stress leading to hopelessness which raises the risk of suicide.
In the United States, suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year and for young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death, over half of all suicides are completed with a firearm and 15% of those in the USA who are clinically depressed die by suicide. For every completed suicide attempt ending in death there are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides.
The most tragic fact: 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year and the strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.
Another survey conducted in the USA points out to the fact that more young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and private schools in the United States found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the United States.
This shocking statistic with data from 2013 points out to the fact that an average of 1 person every 12.8 minutes killed themselves and 395 of youths under the age of 15 killed themselves in the United States in 2013.
As for the relation between bullying and suicide, Adolescent Health reported in 2013 that 22% of frequent perpetrators only, 29% of frequent victims only, and 38% of frequent bully-victims reported suicidal thinking or a suicide attempt during the past year.
As for the UK, according to this source, in the year 2013 alone 370 males between the ages of 15-24 had committed suicide while 84 females in the same age group had ended their lives in the same year.
Bullying and Cyberbullying cannot be cited as a direct reason for suicide because it leaves no “direct marks or indicators”, the deaths of Hannah Smith, Ciara Pugsley, Rebecca Sedwick, Daniel Perry, Joshua Unsworth, Anthony Stubbs as well as Erin and Shannon Gallagher serve as a direct outright reminder how cruel and unfair life can be in the minds of teens facing cyberbullying and hate wherever they go.
Always remember that if you or anyone you know might be suffering from bullying or cyberbullying, reach out to a trustworthy friend or family member before the situation gets out of hand.