June 8, 2005

NEWS / PROJECTS: Bullying: NCH identifies mobile phone bullying epidemic (UK)

Bullying: NCH identifies mobile phone bullying epidemic
By Tristan Donovan - 08/06/05
More than one million teenagers in the UK are victims of mobile phone bullying, according to a survey by children's charity NCH and Tesco Mobile.

Putting U in the Picture asked 770 young people aged 11 to 19 about mobile phone bullying and discovered that 14 per cent of them had been victims.

According to the Wireless World Forum's mobileYouth 2005 report, 7.6 million 10- to 19-year-olds in the UK own a mobile phone, meaning that NCH's findings suggest that more than one million young people have been bullied by text message.

John Carr, head of the children and technology unit at NCH, said text message bullying is as serious as face-to-face bullying. "Bullying can ruin people's lives and, in extreme cases, it has led to suicide," he said. "And it is precisely because mobile phones are so precious to young people that they feel very trapped by text message bullying. They feel they must deal with it by themselves or think their parents will take away their phone if they admit it is happening."

One in 10 of those questioned also said that camera phones had been used to photograph them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or threatened.

NCH has now teamed up with Tesco Mobile to provide a text message service for teenagers facing mobile phone bullying. The 24-hour service sends young people who text the word bully to 60000 a message explaining how to get advice and support.

The cost of the young person's text will be donated to NCH. A web site has also been created.


SOURCE: http://www.ypnmagazine.com/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=full_news&ID=7451

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