"My phone makes me feel I exist"
Key findings from the 2017 Suffolk Cybersurvey
Parental influence makes a difference - children do value what their parents and carers say, and they continue to follow their advice as they grow older.
- This year across all ages there has been an increase in parent/carers helping their children to keep themselves safe online. Overall 68% learnt about online safety from their parent/carers.
- 62% said that they always followed the advice of their parents, up from 57% in 2016.
- However parents give less online safety advice to their sons than to their daughters.
A one-size approach to online safety education won’t work - advice and support must be based around the age and needs of children and young people.
- Children are accessing social media before the minimum age limit; 80% of our 13 year olds have a social media profile.
- The cybersurvey results show that 15 year olds are taking more risks and exposed to harmful content, more than any other age group.
- 44% of 15 year olds had seen pro-anorexia sites at least once or twice; 42% had seen sites promoting violence, hatred or racist views; 29% had seen sites encouraging self-harm.
Content causes more harm than screen time - children and young people are increasingly seeing more and more ‘harmful’ content sometimes within 30 minutes of using the internet.
- Harmful content includes violence, racism, pro-anorexia content, homophobia, extremism, hate speech and sites encouraging self-harm and suicide.
- 29% of all respondents had seen pro-anorexia content at least once or twice; and for those aged 12 years, 22% reported that they had already seen pro-anorexia content at least once or twice.
- There is an association between those who already have low self-esteem and the amount of time they spend online, but there is no evidence of cause and effect. Spending more than 3 hours a day online seems be the point at which self-esteem may start to decrease.
Looking at trends since 2016
Positive decreases in...
4% reduction in young people using chatrooms. (17% less than 4 years ago).
2% reduction in young people meeting up with someone they knew only online.
13% increase in 15 year olds visiting self-harm promoting sites (from 16% to 29%).
9% increase in 15 year olds visiting pro-anorexia sites (from 35% to 44%).
8% increase in 15 year olds sexting (from 11% to 17%).
3% increase in cyberbullying across all responses (from 19% to 22%).
Suffolk had previously seen a three-year downward trend in nearly all forms of online risk-taking behaviour across age ranges until the 2017 Cybersurvey. However with the exception of 15 year olds the increases are still quite small. The behaviour of those aged 15 year corresponds to a distinct drop off in parental engagement - at a time when their risk taking is increasing. Reinforcing the need for parent/carers to sustain their input throughout adolescence.
Thank you to all the organisations who supported children and young people to take part in the annual cybersurvey.
Working in partnership
The data from the cybersurveys is being successively used to support research and evidence-based practice across Suffolk. A recent example is the Multi-agency E-Safety Crime Prevention (MESCP) initiative.
In December 2016 the Better Policing Collaboration - led by Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk Police & Crime Commissioner, commissioned the University of Suffolk to undertake a rapid evidence assessment (REA) and focus group research with teachers, parents, children, police, professionals and online safety experts. The aim was to look at an inclusive approach to online safety, which takes into account the role of parents, schools and other professionals, as well as children themselves in promoting a community-based, early-intervention collaborative approach to safeguarding children online. Three years of data from the Cybersurvey, which is administered by Youthworks Consulting, was analysed as part of the rapid evidence assessment.
2015 cybersurvey report - administered and analysed by Youthworks Consulting Ltd
2014 cybersurvey report - administered and analysed by Youthworks Consulting Ltd
2013 cybersurvey report - administered and analysed by Youthworks Consulting Ltd
2012 cybersurvey report - administered by Youthworks Consulting Ltd, analysed by UCS