Cyberbullying affects increasingly younger children, a phenomenon that echoes the massive use of social networks from the age of 8. While many harassers say they do it just for fun, the consequences are unfortunately not funny for the victims.
One in four families (24%) reveals that they have already been confronted with cyberharassment, according to the Caisse d’Épargne-Association e-Enfance/3018 study on cyberharassment among 8-18 year olds. In detail, this confrontation with cyberharassment concerns 27% of high school students, 25% of middle school students and even 15% of primary school students.
Addictive social networks for young people
In question ? Increased use of social networks from primary school which very quickly turns out to be addictive. Two out of three schoolchildren (67%) aged 8 to 10 say they use them (compared to only 27% in 2021), 93% of middle school students (+21 pts) and 96% of high school students (+5 pts). It is therefore an understatement to say that social networks are today essential in the lives of young French people. And it is all the more eloquent since in principle these networks are not open to those under 13 years old.
And they are so addicted to it that 24% of 8-18 year olds say they cannot stay more than an hour without their smartphone in hand. This presence on social networks has a direct impact on them, according to 89% of the parents questioned. 77% of them lose all sense of time, 66% isolate themselves, 63% lose perspective and discernment. Worse still, almost one in two parents consider that these behaviors cause their children to lose self-confidence (48%) and even, sometimes, to become depressed (47%). Unfortunately, a majority (70%) also consider that they have no control over their children’s online uses.
Of harassers who act “like the others” for “a laugh”
Only 6% of young people questioned admit to having already been perpetrators or to having indirectly participated in cyberharassment. Their motivation may be surprising since almost half (47%) do it just for fun, without necessarily measuring the consequences. They are also 29% simply “do like the others“, 24% try to be accepted and 10% do it to take revenge. According to this study, 87% believe they have understood the consequences of their actions.
Disastrous consequences for the victims
These can prove disastrous for victims, more than one in two of whom had difficulty talking about it (56%), were disturbed to the point of experiencing appetite disorders or insomnia (52%). and encountered difficulties in their schooling (51%). These victims are also 32% to have fallen into addictive behaviors (screens, games or, even worse, alcohol, drugs) and 31% to have considered suicide! Note that almost half (45%) wanted to take revenge by doing the same, a figure which even rises to 62% among the youngest, in primary school.
Parents often overwhelmed
Unsurprisingly, parents are often overwhelmed by the situation and 90% would like to be supported psychologically (83%) and legally (77%) if necessary. They also expect a strengthening of sanctions against perpetrators of online violence as well as strong awareness among young people in schools.