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Cyberbullying is a bigger problem than drug abuse, online survey in 11 countries revealed. In response, Vodafone launches #BeStrong campaign

23. September 2015

Vodafone conducted one of the largest global surveys on the topic of cyberbullying. Its results show that more than half of teenagers think cyberbullying is worse than face-to-face bullying and 43% believe it to be a bigger problem than drug abuse. In response, Vodafone launches initiative #BeStrong to highlight the issue and facilitate the expressions of support and compassion to those affected by bullying in the online environment.

Nearly 5,000 respondents from 11 countries, including the Czech Republic, were involved in the global survey*. The overall results showed that on average, every fifth young person across the countries surveyed became victims of cyberbullying, which resulted in feelings of depression and helplessness (41%), "complete loneliness" (26%) and even suicidal thoughts (18%). In order to avoid aggressive attacks through electronic information channels some teenagers have cancelled their accounts on social media or avoided going to school for a while. The Czech Republic belongs among the countries where teenagers have the least personal experience with cyberbullying (8%) according to the survey, they knew, on the other hand, about cases from family and friends (28 %) or someone else (55 %).

The survey also shows that on average 38% cyberbullied did not tell their parents nor guardians about the negative experience, the figure for the Czech Republic states even 50%. The most common reason was shame and fear of how their parents might respond. The survey also dealt with reactions of young to any cyberbullying and showed that almost for half of the respondents it would be difficult to find the right words to comfort a friend if he/she become a victim of cyberbullying. The possibility to use an emoji to express compassion and support would be likely used by 72 % of teenagers on average from all countries. The best option for Czech teenagers seems to be combination of appropriate words and emoji, 58% of them would choose this option.

In response to the survey results the Vodafone Foundation has launched an initiative against cyberbullying today, which uses special emojis and #BeStrong hashtag, to raise awareness of the importance of expression of compassion and support to all who were cyberbullied. A special set of anti-cyberbullying emojis was chosen by the survey participants. Vodafone is now working on making

these emojis available in selected communication applications and platforms for common use.

In addition, as part of the #BeStrong campaign, Vodafone will donate 14 cents (about 3,70 CZK) to nonprofit organizations fighting against cyberbullying for every Twitter retweet or public Facebook like of image of the #BeStrong emojis. The amount raised in the Czech Republic will be used to support e-Security project, which has been supported by Vodafone for a long time.

Vodafone in Czech Republic has been fighting against cyberbullying already for some time. In addition to the promotion of e-Security project, which aims to identify and analyze hazardous communication practices linked to electronic communications, also organizes educational seminars and campaigns on the topic of Internet security. Helpful hints and applications on how to work with children are also listed on a special microsite of Vodafone Digital Parenting: http://www.vodafone.cz/digitalni-rodicovstvi/. Vodafone also supports to increase the digital literacy within the IN-Generation project, more on http://www.in-generation.com/cs.

* The survey was realized  by YouGov Plc in the period 1 – 7 September and involved 4,720 respondents aged 13-18. The survey was conducted in the following countries: United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Greece, South Africa, USA, Ireland and the Czech Republic. The numbers show average data from all countries, unless indicated otherwise.