Our research shows that when young people have an issue, they turn first to those they can trust and most often this is their friends or peers. Children and young people are often the witnesses to cyber-bullying, the distribution of another child’s private nude image, the public humiliation of another child, situations of grooming, and see other harmful content like beheadings and dead bodies. Some are mentally scarred buy these experiences. The majority of young people do nothing about these experiences.
Why do they do this?
Probably it is human nature to do nothing…look away…pass by. Young people worry that if they raise the alarm parents may wade in, cause trouble, and embarrass them. Or even worse confiscate their device. So instead they turn to each other for help and support. We must encourage our children and young people to empathise, listen to and support each other. Young people must feel that they have a network for support. We need to empower and educate young people to advise each other and seek help. We also need to think about how we respond to them when they alert us of issues. We must act with respect to our young people and gain their trust, so we and their teachers can help and support them.