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Bullying Digital Mental Health Research

Wireless Report: Online Behaviours and Mental Health

Introducing the Wireless Report

When we carried out our Annual Bullying Survey 2020, we asked young people a bunch of questions about their lives online. Out of this came the Wireless Report, a unique and wide-ranging study that tells us some incredible insights into the online behaviours, feelings and fears of young people across the country. With over 13,000 respondents, it is the only study of its kind.

Selfies

  • Over in 1 in 5 will take over 20 selfies before finding one they like enough to post
  • And 25% of young people will edit most of a selfie before posting it as well

This speaks volumes about the level of online confidence that young people have. Photo editing and photo manipulation apps have grown, with a lot of content creators choosing to manipulate reality to show themselves in the best way possible. 

However, their use has trickled down to the general public and young people feeling the need to edit themselves to be more “beautiful” highlights the difficulties they are facing with comparison. In fact, it has since been discovered that Instagram and Facebook knew about this effect all along. They chose not to do anything about it.

Unwanted sexual contact

  • 31% of young people have received an unwanted sexual message or image from a stranger online 
  • 36% of those that sent them were considerably older than the receiver
Graphs illustrating issues around receiving unwanted sexual messages and images online

These shocking statistics highlight the need for greater safety and moderation measures to be put in place to protect young people from unwanted sexual contact and content online. Given that 81% of respondents were under the age of sexual consent in the UK, 50% of these being as young as 12 years old, it’s clear that there is a huge need to create more robust safeguarding measures.  

Cyberbullying

  • Online bullying is still taking place, with almost half having seen something mean posted about them online 

We know from our previous research that 1 in 4 young people will experience cyberbullying before they turn 18. It seems that isolated issues of bullying content are taking place much more frequently than sustained campaigns of cyberbullying. This is, of course, no less devastating to the person that it is about, and often will go on to have a serious impact on their mental health, school work and self-esteem. 

For more, you can download the full report here.

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