Cyberbullying triggers depression in kids

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(Credit: Kaspersky Lab)

MANILA, Aug. 30, 2016 – Cyberbullied children suffer serious health and socialization problems, like depression, eating disorders, and nightmares, revealed Kaspersky Lab in a Aug. 25 press release.

Thirty percent of 3, 780 parents, who participated in the study conducted by market research firm iconKids & Youth and Kaspersky Lab, noticed that their kids showed less interest in their studies, while 28 percent observed symptoms of depression in their children.

“25 percent of parents stated that cyberbullying had disrupted their child’s sleep patterns and caused nightmares (21 percent). Another 26 percent of parents noticed their child had started avoiding contact with other kids, and 20 percent discovered their child had anorexia,” reads the Kaspersky Lab statement.

Clueless parents?

The study titled Growing Up Online – Connected Kids also revealed that 20 percent of children saw their peers being harassed online, “and in 7 percent [of the] cases even participated in it.”

The study also showed parents were clueless that the impact of cyberbullying is more serious than previously believed.

Kids surveyed from age 8 to 16 are “more on guard” against this online threat than their parents, noted Kaspersky Lab. Some 16 percent of respondent kids were more affected when harassed online than offline.

“Parents should not downplay the dangers of cyberbullying,” stressed the Russian cybersecurity firm. “Despite the fact that the study found only 4 percent of children admitted to being bullied online, in 7 out of 10 cases the consequences were traumatic.”

Cyberbullying, not so harmless

Some 13 percent of children and 21 percent of parents surveyed, however, believe cyberbullying is “harmless”.

The parents of 37 percent of the victims confided their children demonstrated lower self-esteem, said the statement.

The study also found out that kids usually hide their online experience from their parents.

“In an effort to protect our children from danger, we mustn’t forget that they not only live in the real world but also in the virtual world, which is just as real to them,” said Andrei Mochola, Consumer Business Head at Kaspersky Lab.

Parental control software

Talking to children and the use of parental control software that alerts parents when a threat is detected can protect them from cyberbullying, he added.

Meanwhile, top cybersecurity specialists in the Philippines are proposing the integration of cybersecurity into school curricula.

Giving cybersecurity instructions to kids as early as possible will help prepare them when they go online, said Angel Redoble, who chairs the national advisory council for the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group.

According to Redoble, who is also president of the Philippine Institute of Cyber Security Professionals (PICSPro), online threats are expected to be more common as society gets increasingly drawn into the online world, making cybersecurity education “a must.” (Oliver Samson / CBCPNews)

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