McAfee, part of Intel Security, released on Tuesday (September 2, 2014), key Singapore findings from the latest edition of its annual global study of the online behaviour and social networking habits of teenagers, 2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying.
This is the first time Singaporean teens have been included in the study, which found that 1 in 3 of our local youths "have had experience with cyberbullying" and that "out of this number, 61 percent have witnessed cyberbullying of others," 29 percent have committed acts of cyberbullying, and 28 percent have become victims of cyberbullying.
In their analyses, researchers at McAfee said that "this behaviour [cyberbullying] was perceived to result in [Singaporean teen's] anger or [their] becoming less social, leading to a broader theme about how online behaviour is impacting their offline lives." They also said that their study "highlights how risky online activity can follow them offline and possibly make them even more susceptible to cyberbullying."
At the announcement of the findings, David Freer, VP, Consumer, APAC, McAfee, recommended that parents "have an open discussion with their children so they will be better equipped to keep themselves safe online."
After all, "the experience of cyberbullying or being cyberbullied can have a deep and lasting effect on a child's identity and life offline," said Freer, and should not be taken lightly.
Also on hand to comment was Chong EeJay, Assistant Manager of TOUCH Cyber Wellness, an organisation devoted to 'cyber wellness' education, promotion and counseling in Singapore. According to TOUCH Cyber Wellness, "it is essential for parents to understand the prevalence of cyberbullying in Singapore and learn to detect early signs of it in their children."
The ability to do so is important because "victims of cyberbullying may be ashamed to take the first step in sharing about their problems with others," said Chong, and as such "Parents should stay relevant and connected to their children at all times to watch out for possible signs and deal with cyberbullying in its earlier stages."
Other key Singapore findings shared by McAfee include the following:-
* The majority of respondents who claimed to have been cyberbullied said they had fallen victim due to their appearance or academic achievements (or lack thereof).
* Religion, race and sexuality played a less significant role in bringing about cyberbullying in Singapore.
* Of the respondents who claimed to have witnessed cyberbullying, 43 percent said they saw victims become defensive or angry as a result, and 57 percent noted that the victims deleted their social media accounts.
* 41 percent of all respondents said they "would not know what to do if they were harassed or bullied online."
* 44 percent of all respondents had been "involved in an argument because of something posted on social media" and 13 percent said that they had seen what were originally just online altercations escalate to physical fights.
* Only 46 percent of all respondents said they had "enabled the privacy settings on their social networking profiles to protect their content."
* 78 percent of all respondents admit to not turning off "their location or GPS services across apps, leaving their locations visible to strangers."
* 34 percent of all respondents had posted their home addresses online.
* 1 in 5 of teens "configured privacy settings to hide content from parents or adults."
* 78 percent of all respondents believed that "their parents trust them to do what is right online," but more than 66 percent "would still change their online behaviour if they knew their parents were watching."
* 71 percent of all respondents wished "to receive more likes on photos of themselves, and 66 percent" feel more important or popular as a result.
* 44 percent of all respondents "feel more accepted online than in person." The McAfee researchers noted that "this sense of acceptance is higher in Singapore than in other countries surveyed, including Australia and the US.
* 29 percent said they feared that their privacy would be compromised, 33 percent feared being hacked, 7 percent feared being unpopular and 7 percent feared getting cyberbullied.
* 34 percent had expressed regret in having posted something online.
* 51 percent believed "that they can eventually delete any content they choose to share." This number, noted McAfee researchers, is "much higher than what other teens surveyed in other countries."
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