One-fifth of Saudi kids 'cyber-bullied'

Ipsos/Reuters poll finds cyber bullying prevalent in conservative desert kingdom

Tags: Cyber crimeSaudi Arabia
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One-fifth of Saudi kids 'cyber-bullied' Rates of cyber bullying in KSA are higher than the UK and US (AFP / Getty Images)
By  Daniel Shane Published  January 12, 2012

Almost one-fifth (18%) of parents in Saudi Arabia believe their children have been the victim of ‘cyber bullying', according to new data published by research firm Ipsos.

The global survey, published alongside Reuters, revealed that the frequency of cyber bullying in the conservative kingdom was higher than that of western nations including the US (15% of children), UK (11% of children) and France (5% of children).

Cyber bullying is when a child, or group of children, under the age of 18 intentionally threaten, intimidate or embarrass another child or children through electronic means, such as social networking sites, chat rooms or mobile devices.

"The data clearly shows an appetite among global citizens for a targeted response to cyber-bullying," Karen Gottfried, a spokesperson for Ipsos, told Reuters.

"The key to this study is that it measures parental awareness of cyber-bullying, not actual rates of the behaviour," Gottfried added. "While we can't speculate on what actually happens, it is quite possible that the proportion of children actually being cyber-bullied is in fact understated, since we are speaking with the parents, not the kids."

Saudi Arabia was the only nation in the Middle East to be included in the poll and the findings also disclosed that 23% of Saudi parents believed a child in their community wasbeing cyber-bullied, while 41% of parents in the kingdom are aware of the issue.

The Ipsos poll took data from more than 18,000 adults in 24 countries, 60% of whom cited social networking site Facebook as a platform for cyber bullying.

Prior to this survey, there has been little evidence to suggest cyber bullying is a major issue in the region. This is in contrast to the US, where the phenomenon has been linked to several teen suicides. 

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