How Big A Problem Is Cyberbullying?

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Cyberbullying rates around the world

What could make a quarter of teenagers consider suicide but remain invisible to their loved ones?

Vodafone released the results of a YouGov survey today that examined the prevalence of Cyberbullying in eleven countries. The results are shocking.

According to the survey, nearly a third (30%) of New Zealand teens experienced Cyberbullying. Next comes the United States with 27% and with Irish teens close behind on 26%. Even the countries that reported the least cyberbullying, Spain and the Czech Republic had nearly one in ten victims.

The survey also explored what it feels like to be bullied in this way. A quarter of bullied Irish teens felt suicidal as a result. Nearly half of bullied Americans avoided people. Just over half of bullied South Africans feel depressed. Forty-five percent of Spanish victims feel powerless and a fifth of bullied Germans self-harm.

Overall, 43% of teenagers from the eleven countries view cyberbullying to be a bigger problem for young people than drug abuse. Fifty-one percent think that cyberbullying is worse than face-to-face bullying. Nearly every three in four teenagers know of someone who has experienced cyberbullying.

What can be done? Teens in the Netherlands were asked and 63% of them believed that the social media networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.) should do more to prevent bullying behaviour. Nearly half believed that schools should take a more active role and 46% believe that the users of social media should step up.

“A lot of emojis can be limited for communicating emotions. The bystander needs better tools. Specific emojis that they can send their friends to show that they are there for them.”
Professor Dacher Keltner

Bullying on the basis of how you look is by far the most prevalent but bullying due to race, sex, social class or sexual orientation also featured strongly. Thirteen percent of teens reported being bullied due to religion and seven percent due to their age.

Vodafone Emojis

Vodafone’s #BeStrong campaign’s emojis to show support for victims of cyberbullying.

Vodafone has announced that it is releasing new emojis to help combat cyberbullying. When asked if teens would share an emoji to show support for someone who was being bullied 71% said that they would. The final design of the emojis were chosen by the teenagers interviewed. Vodafone revealed that the idea behind the creation of the emojis came from anti-bullying ambassador Monica Lewinsky along with psychologist Professor Dacher Keltner and the charities ENABLE and the Diana Award.

The emojis were developed as part of Vodafone’s #BeStrong social media campaign and are available online at Vodafone’s Flickr account.

To help promote the campaign, Vodafone has promised to donate 14 Euro cents to charity for every retweet of Facebook Like of the emojis from the Vodafone social media channels. In Ireland the charity is the ISPCC, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

So please visit the Vodafone Ireland Twitter  and/or the Vodafone Ireland Foundation Facebook  account to participate. In the UK Vodafone is donating to the Diana Award.


  • Vodafone – #BeStrong Campaign
  • YouGov Survey Results (PDF)

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  1. ravenwing72 27th September 2015
    • Dermot Barry 14th October 2015
      • ravenwing72 15th October 2015

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