Cyberbullying and online harassment among young people is not a rare phenomenon but a daily occurrence, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL).
The child welfare association asked young people about cyberbullying and harassment, using an online survey, in the autumn of 2020. More than 1,100 responses were received.
The answers showed that young people in Finland take harassment on the internet seriously. They also wanted adults to take bullying on social media and the internet seriously, asking to be provided with more information and support by addressing the problem and its possible consequences in schools.
According to the survey, harassment online and on social media is difficult to avoid, with young people having negative encounters almost daily.
"The offensive treatment of people and hostile interactions are commonplace on social media, apps and within gaming communities. Even if one has not been personally targeted, many find the treatment of others distressing," said the association’s media education planner Rauna Rahja, in a press release.
Nasty comments and name calling widespread
The results of the survey indicate that the most common types of online bullying among young people were nasty comments, name-calling or verbal bashing. The most serious incidents involved death threats, rape threats and sexual harassment.
The majority of those surveyed believe that online and in-person bullying are equally serious offences. Yet while many find offensive or threatening behaviour online to be upsetting, there are also those who think it is a necessary evil and part of internet use.
"That said, I find it positive that more than half of the young people surveyed believe that their own actions can reduce harassment and abuse. 71 percent of those who responded believe that the actions of every individual count when combatting these situations," MLL school cooperation planner Paula Aalto said.