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Half of the world's kids fear the online bully, report says

June 26, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • Patrick Brown talks to parents during a cyberbullying discussion at Hale Middle School in Woodland Hills during "Stand Tall Day," a day devoted to anti-bullying.
Patrick Brown talks to parents during a cyberbullying discussion at Hale… (Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

In the laundry list of universal kid fears -- monsters, nightmares, kidnappers, mean big kids -- we may soon be able to add cyberbully. 

According to data collected by Microsoft's Safety & Security Center, 54% of kids worldwide say they worry about being bullied online, and nearly 1 in 4 say they have experienced online bullying.

Additionally, 24% admitted to having bullied someone else online.

Online bullying is still less frequent than off-line bullying in almost all the countries included in the report.

Worldwide, 72% of kids surveyed said they have been bullied off-line, compared with 37% who say they have been bullied online.

The two exceptions to this rule were China and Singapore. The researchers found that 80% of kids in China say they worry about being bullied online and 70% of kids say they have been bullied online. Both numbers are way above the worldwide average.

Here in the United States, online bullying is relatively low -- with just 29% of kids saying they have been bullied online -- but before you start waving your U.S. flag, consider this: 83% say they have been bullied off-line.

We are not yet a country free of bullies. 

Jacqueline Beauchere, director of trustworthy privacy & safety communications at Microsoft, said cyberbullying usually starts off as regular bullying on the playground or in the school environment, but that the online world enables it to follow the child home after school. 

Insidious!

For the report, Microsoft surveyed 7,600 kids 8 to 17 years old in 25 countries including Japan, Morocco, India, China, the U.S., Italy, Pakistan and others.

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