Suffolk: One in five youngsters victims of online abuse in county
- Credit: PA
One in five young people in Suffolk were victims of online abuse last year, new figures have revealed.
The annual ‘Suffolk Cybersurvey’ of 1,685 young people, conducted to monitor trends in abusive online activity, also found that more than half (53%) of young people have experienced rude or aggressive messages and had been sent sexual jokes.
The results of the survey were announced at a major e-safety conference at IP-City Centre in Bath Street, Ipswich, today.
It found one in five young people have been bullied online, an increase of 1% from 2012.
Some 22% of young people – aged 10 to 18 – said they had been blackmailed or threatened over private photos or webcam images.
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The event, organised by Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) e-Safer Suffolk team, saw 80 professionals from across the county who work with vulnerable children and adults come together to hear from industry-leading e-safety and sexual exploitation experts.
The conference was organised to highlight issues relating to the sexualisation of children, cyberbullying, cyber-addiction and why vulnerable young people and vulnerable adults are increasingly attracted to the internet.
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It formed part of the authority’s ongoing work to protect vulnerable people from harm and educate people working with those most likely to be abused.
Gordon Jones, SCC’s deputy cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said: “The harm caused by online abuse, exploitation and grooming is a serious concern and the dangers are well recognised in Suffolk.
“That is why e-safety awareness training is regularly delivered in schools and to staff in organisations that work with vulnerable young people and adults.
“Professionals from across Suffolk who work with vulnerable children and adults came together in Ipswich today to hear from industry-leading e-safety and sexual exploitation experts.
“This is part of our ongoing work to educate vulnerable people and protect them from harm.”
Meanwhile the 2013 survey also found that more young people feel they can report being bullied to someone, up 8% to 70%.
But 10% of young people who had been bullied online found it got worse after reporting it to an adult.
Schools are teaching e-safety but parents are struggling to keep up. Fewer young people (58%) said they had learnt about e-safety from their parents. In 2011, 63% said their mother or father had taught them how to keep safe.
Access to the internet is increasing rapidly. Some 73% of Suffolk young people now own a smartphone and in the last 12 months, tablet ownership has rocketed from 43% to 67%.
It was also revealed nine in 10 young people in Suffolk have seen websites or Facebook pages specifically set up to bully someone because they might be homosexual.