Cyber-abuse a common problem

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© arda savasciogullari, shutterstock

FIFTY per cent of 12 to 18-year-olds admit to having been threatened, insulted or otherwise mistreated on social media websites according to a study by Elche’s Miguel Hernandez University (UMH).

Over the last year, 40,000 people in Spain, 2,000 of them under aged minors, have fallen victim to cyber-abuse with 6 per cent of abuse reported of a sexual nature and 19 per cent of youths reporting excessive control over the internet by partners or exes. For this reason, the National Police force is sending officers to schools to give talks on the risks of the internet and social media in an attempt to get youngsters web-savvy and teach them how to avoid becoming victims.

At one of these talks at Valencia’s Escolapias School, government delegate in Valencia Juan Carlos Moragues reported that, according to the Ministry of Industry, 40 per cent of nine to 13-year-olds have social media profiles and the average age youngsters start using the internet is nine, meaning they need to be informed. Another matter under the spotlight at these talks, which last year reached 1,392 schools across Valencia Region and were attended by 40,000 pupils, parents and teachers, is gender violence as the problem is increasing.

Whereas 65 cases were reported within the age-group in 2014, so far this year there have been 118. “There are reports that show that sexist attitudes are still rife amongst youngsters. We have to work on improving equality, freedom and awareness,” Moragues stressed.

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