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FK&Y publishes its research for the Royal Foundation’s Cyberbullying Taskforce

Research carried out by FK&Y for the Cyberbullying Taskforce illustrates what steps children and young people would like industry, parents and schools to take to prevent cyberbullying taking place.

Cyberbullying can impact the mental health of children and young people. The Cyberbullying Taskforce was set up by the Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation in May 2016, bringing together industry and experts to develop a single up-to-date resource providing practical support, advice and information for those affected by cyberbullying.

A key finding is that not all young people recognise cyberbullying. Whilst over half (55%) reported experiencing something online that had upset or really hurt them, nearly two-thirds of these young people (65%) did not define these experiences as cyberbullying. Young people’s negative experiences online are frequent and recurrent – particularly amongst girls.
Download the qualitative research here.
Download the quantitative research here.

Dr Barbie Clarke presenting FK&Y’s recent work on cyberbullying

Over the summer our fantastic team has been carrying out workshops with over 100 children aged 12-14 to discuss cyberbullying. The work has been commissioned by the Royal Foundation which launched the Cyberbullying Taskforce in May. Today Dr Barbie Clarke presented results to the taskforce, illustrating the many ideas children had for tackling cyberbullying.

Royal Foundation Cyberbullying Taskforce Kensington
FK&Y’s Dr Barbie Clarke presenting results to the Taskforce including HRH the Duke of Cambridge, and heads of social media and ISP companies.
The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying

What can be done about bullying?

The disturbing news footage that emerged yesterday surrounding the Syrian child in Huddersfield being bullied in the school playground highlights once again the need to address all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying.

A growing concern about cyberbullying led The Duke of Cambridge to set up the Cyberbullying Taskforce in 2016, an initiative that included leading tech companies and experts in the field of children, the internet and mental health. The Taskforce has since launched several programmes to tackle bullying, including the Code of Conduct ‘Stop Seek Support’. Summarising the Taskforce’s achievements earlier this month (during Anti-Bullying Week), the Duke believes that more can be done, “Social media companies have done more to connect the world than has ever been achieved in human history. Surely you can connect with each other about smart ways to deal with the unintended consequences of these connections?”. The Taskforce has worked with the BBC to develop a new internet safety app called ‘Own It’ which will be launched next year.

Family Kids & Youth’s qualitative and quantitative research on behalf of The Cyberbullying Taskforce found that young people are reluctant to admit to bullying and that there is a fine line between ‘banter’ and  ‘bullying’. The research found:

  • It is clear that the personal nature of cyberbullying is particularly hurtful.
  • It is especially bad if the perpetrator is not known to the victim.
  • Many young people believe that there is a general reluctance to admit incidents of cyberbullying to their family or teachers – for fear of escalation.
  • Embarrassment about the nature of the bullying (e.g. sexting, inappropriate pictures, language used etc.) compound the problem, and add to the sense that they are somehow to blame.
  • Young people find it difficult to define bullying – phrases or words such as ‘picked on’ or ‘banter’ are frequently used in place of ‘bullying’.
  • Often what might be described as cyberbullying therefore is not called that by young people.
  • There is a strong feeling that young people bully online because they think they can ‘get away with it’.
  • There is consensus however that the issue is out of control and needs tackling, although young people recognise it is a difficult issue to tackle.
  • There is particular concern about the current issue of ‘Bait-Out’ accounts – i.e. local gossip which is anonymous and can frequently become personally abusive to named individuals but viewed by many. All young people in our workshops appeared to follow them but were often shocked by their abusive nature. Teachers know of them but feel helpless to prevent their use.

Family Kids & Youth’s current research is focusing on Children’s Mental Health and the Internet; we are finding that many of the issues identified above are still a concern for young people. Our findings from this research will be published in January 2019.

New website to help children navigate the internet

The BBC has launched a new website that aims to help children develop the skills and confidence they need to navigate the digital world. ‘Own It’ was announced by the Duke of Cambridge at the Children’s Global Media Summit in Manchester this week and is a result of the work done by The Royal Foundation’s Cyberbullying Taskforce. Children taking part in the research carried out by Family Kids & Youth for the Taskforce identified the need for a ‘one stop shop’ for information and advice. The new web portal is aimed at 9-12 year olds and includes tips, stories and advice to help them get the most out of their time online and stay safe. Alice Webb, Director, BBC Children’s, says: “The internet is full of exciting opportunities for young people, but it also throws up complex emotional and practical challenges that they are not always equipped to deal with. We want to help them get the most out of their digital lives, in safe, fun and creative ways. Own It does that brilliantly.”  The BBC is working with an advisory network of partners including The Royal Foundation, Childline, Young Minds and The Diana Award to ensure the website covers the wide range of topics and issues affecting children online, ranging from cyberbullying, online privacy and avoiding malware, to dealing with everyday dilemmas. ‘Own It’ marks the start of the BBC’s £34 million investment in children services and content across three years, helping to give children the confidence and resilience to tackle the challenges they face online.

Prince William launches anti-bullying plan to combat ‘banter escalation scenarios’

Our research on behalf of The Royal Foundation’s Cyberbullying Taskforce showed that young people are reluctant to admit to bullying, often referring to distressing online experiences as ‘banter’ when in fact it is bullying. The Taskforce, which includes ISPs, social media giants and charities such as the NSPCC and Diana Award has worked hard to put together this new project aimed at keeping children safe online, with the slogan ‘Stop, Speak, Support’. Social media companies such as Facebook and Snapchat have already begun to adapt their sites with the help of the NSPCC, to allow direct support for their users in ‘the event of a banter escalation scenario’.

Details of the Cyberbullying Taskforce’s new initiative can be found here. A short video has been released to announce and support this project, which can be viewed below.

13 Reasons Why – A graphic depiction of young people’s mental health on screen by Sheyi Ogunshakin

Th1rteen R3asons Why is a young adult novel written by Jay Asher (2007) about a teenage girl who commits suicide. The novel was adapted into a 13-episode Netflix original series titled 13 Reasons Why and has received wide-ranging criticism.

The show follows 17 year old Clay Jenson (Dylan Minnette) as he listens to seven double sided cassette tapes recorded by 17 year old Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) before she took her life. The tapes detail the 13 reasons that led to Hannah Baker’s depression and subsequent suicide. The ‘nouveau murder mystery’ highlights the impact of bullying in schools, young people’s mental health, resilience and the effect that an accumulation of seemingly trivial incidences combined with traumatic events can have on a young person. Some episodes of 13 Reasons Why begin with disclaimers about the graphic nature of the content.

The Netflix series, which is currently the platform’s most popular show, has been praised for revealing an ‘un-sensationalised portrait’ of American high school life as well as shining a light on the ‘rough but sadly familiar’ events Hannah Baker suffered, which include loneliness, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape. However, the show has also been criticised for ‘glamourizing suicide’ with some mental health organisations warning that the series could have a damaging effect on vulnerable viewers. Notably, a mental health group in Australia has reported a steady increase in calls and emails to suicide helplines. Kristen Douglas, national manager at Australian mental health charity Headspace commented: “There is a responsibility for broadcasters to know what they are showing and the impact that certain content can have on an audience – and on a young audience in particular” adding that “national and international research clearly indicates the very real impact and risk to harmful suicide exposure leading to increased risk and possible suicide contagion”. Despite Australia’s strict guidelines around suicide depiction, Douglas believes that part of the issue lies behind the access young people have to international content, which makes it more difficult to exercise consistent warnings. (more…)

The FK&Y Pedagogy Group spring review

The FK&Y Pedagogy Group met in Marylebone today to consider progress and provide an expert peer review on our latest projects.

The group considered the way in which our research in Asia can best be developed, the medium term results from a summer reading challenge for a publishing company and an update on our work on Cyberbullying for The Royal Foundation. The group also heard about our project on factors influencing children’s in-store decision making, wildlife education in primary schools and magazine readership across varied worldwide audiences.

The group meets three times a year and includes Professor Colleen Mcloughlin (University of Cambridge), Professor David Buckingham (Emeritus Professor at the University of Loughborough), Duncan Mackrill (University of Sussex), Simon Mason (Headteacher, Honywood School) and Rachel McGowan (Headteacher, Plashet School).

The FK&Y Pedagogy Group meets for autumn review

The FK&Y Pedagogy Group met in Marylebone today to review work undertaken over a very busy summer.

The group was given feedback on our work on Cyberbullying for The Royal Foundation and a literature review on engaging with 16-24 years olds for the Money Advice Service that was published at the beginning of September. The group reviewed our exciting ongoing projects across a wide range of research areas including in-store experiences carried out with children globally, transition to secondary school, wildlife education in primary schools and ways to address the summer reading dip.

The group meets three times a year and includes Professor Colleen Mcloughlin (University of Cambridge), Professor David Buckingham (University of Loughborough), Duncan Mackrill (University of Sussex), Simon Mason (Headteacher, Honywood School) and Rachel McGowan (Headteacher, Plashet School).

 

 

US research shows that the detrimental effects of bullying can last into early adulthood

Research from the USA has found that the impact of experiencing bullying as a child can have effects reaching into early adulthood. The study of 480 undergraduate students measured exposure to various traumatic experiences, such as bullying, cyberbullying, robbery, sexual assault and violence from birth to 17. Experiencing bullying as a child was the strongest predictor in the study of students reporting symptoms of PTSD. Females who had experienced bullying reported significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD than males. There was found to be a correlation between experiencing inter-personal trauma as a child or young adult and the risk of victimisation as an adult. Educational psychologist Dorothy Espelage, who led the study at the University of Illinois, said “Bullying victimization significantly predicted students’ current levels of depression and anxiety — over and above other childhood victimization experiences.”

Publications

We write many reports, papers and articles, although not all are published. Below is a list of recently published reports and papers, together with a brief summary, of some of our work carried out on behalf of our clients:

2019 Children’s Wellbeing and the Internet study – FK&Y presented new research at Ofcom’s children’s research event on the impact that social media and gaming has on children’s lives and wellbeing, published 30 January 2019

Dr Barbie Clarke presented FK&Y’s new research on the impact that social media and gaming has on children’s lives and wellbeing at Ofcom’s ‘Making Sense of Media’ event on Tuesday 29th January, hosted by Sharon White, Ofcom’s Chief Executive. The research found that children and young people can get upset if parents break their own rules when it comes to going online and using tech devices. The presentation can be found here.

Barbie also took part in the expert panel which discussed how children can be protected online, the need for global co-operation, and what more needs to happen to reach a safe place for children and young people online. The event brought together representatives from government, academia, research agencies, the voluntary sector and the media industry to showcase and debate the very latest research on children’s relationship with media today.

 

2017 The Cyberbullying Taskforce – FK&Y’s reports on behalf of The Royal Foundation, published 21 April 2017.

Cyberbullying can impact the mental health of children and young people. The Cyberbullying Taskforce was set up by the Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation in May 2016, bringing together industry and experts to develop a single up-to-date resource providing practical support, advice and information for those affected by cyberbullying.

The Taskforce commissioned FK&Y to carry out research with young people to explore their personal experience of cyberbullying, how they define cyberbullying, what support they would like to deal with cyberbullying and ways in which social media companies can help. Qualitative research was carried out with a total of 146 young people aged 12-15 through a series of 6 workshops held in schools. This was followed by quantitative research with a nationally representative online survey of 1,004 11-16 year olds across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A key finding is that not all young people recognise cyberbullying. Whilst over half (55%) reported experiencing something online that had upset or really hurt them, nearly two-thirds of these young people (65%) did not define these experiences as cyberbullying. Young people’s negative experiences online are frequent and recurrent – particularly amongst girls.
Download the qualitative research here.
Download the quantitative research here.

2017 Social Mobility Commission – FK&Y’s report ‘Helping Parents to Parent’ written on behalf of the Social Mobility Commission was published 20 February 2017.
The report considers effective interventions that can produce the most effective outcomes for all families. It assesses evidence on parenting behaviours and the extent to which public policy can support parents. The research shows that public policy can have a real impact on parenting behaviours and achieve positive outcomes for children. Intervention can develop parental management skills and confidence, build healthy family relationships and enhance children’s social, behavioural and cognitive development and wellbeing. One of the report’s key findings is that there is currently a lack of long-term evidence and studies about what parenting interventions work best.
More information can be found here and the full report can be read here.

2016 The Money Advice Service – FK&Y’s report ‘Engaging with 16-24 year olds’ written on behalf of The Money Advice Service was published 1 September 2016.
Family Kids & Youth was commissioned by The Money Advice Service to undertake a literature review to analyse the relative strengths of different engagement techniques and methodologies with this hard to reach group. FK&Y analysed 30 reports, reviews and sources and found common themes emerging from successful campaigns.
The key findings of the extensive review found that approaches need to be personalised and holistic, co-creation was effective (both near-to-peer and peer-to-peer), online campaigns on multiple platforms work as do approaches via family, especially those with an appreciation of lifestyle and attitudes and those that highlight short term consequences and non-ethical behaviour. Approaches that were less successful include prescriptive campaigns that emphasise abstinence and zero tolerance.
The report can be found here.

2011 – 2016 Techknowledge for Schools – We have carried out research for the educational charity (formerly Tablets for Schools) since 2011, looking at the use of technology in education, especially one-to-one devices. Research has included an evaluation of use; procurement; benefits and challenges; skills pupils develop for future employment; distraction and internet safety.

See all Techknowledge
for Schools publications

2015 Youth United and the Cabinet Office – The Youth Social Action Journey Fund Programme was funded by the Cabinet Office to create new social action opportunities in areas of high deprivation and low provision and improve the link between Youth United members and the National Citizen Service (NCS). FK&Y carried out research with 10 to 20 year olds taking part in the programme and monitored attitudes and behaviour change over the course of a year. The full report can be downloaded here and infographics here.

2015 The IKEA Play Report – FK&Y carried out research in 12 countries, includes over 16,000 interviews with parents of 0-16 year olds, over 6,000 interviews with children aged 7-12 and over 6,000 interviews with young people aged 13-18. The research looks at time pressure and organisation; safety, concern and risk aversion; attitudes to friends and family; the use of media devices; family time together and attitudes to play. The research can be downloaded here.

2015 Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) – FK&Y wrote this Literature Review of Research on Online Food and Beverage Marketing to Children on behalf of CAP. Published February 2015 it presents a global review of current online marketing practices and research that looks at the impact on children, written with Professor David Buckingham, University of Loughborough, as our advisor.

2013 British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) – Dr Barbie Clarke, written with colleagues at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. This review looks at published research on counselling and psychotherapy with children and young people: a systematic scoping review of the evidence for its effectiveness.

2012 Advertising Education Forum, Brussels – Digital Marketing and Advertising to Children. This literature review written by FK&Y sheds light on what global academic research has found on children’s interaction with digital marketing communications.

2012 International Journal of Market Research (IJMR)
– ‘Researching children: are we getting it right? A discussion of ethics’. Written by Dr Barbie Clarke and Professor Agnes Nairn, this award-winning paper looks at the ethical issues that arise when including children and young people in research. Winner of the IJMR Collaborative Award and short-listed for the prestigious MRS Silver Medal.

2011 The Advertising Association – Children and Commercial Communications: A Literature Review.
Child psychology, recent developments in neuroscience, sociological studies, social competence, and children’s understanding of advertising are considered. The review concludes that while children can recognise advertising at a young age (4- 5) it is not until they reach middle childhood (age 8-12) that children understand advertising; the commercial intent of advertising however is not understood until adolescence, when children are aged 12 plus.

2011 The Advertising Association – Exploring the Attitude of Children and Parents towards Advertising and Marketing. The research includes qualitative and quantitative research with parents and children. Parents express several concerns about their child’s wellbeing including safety, education, future job prospects, but concern about marketing and advertising to children is not rated as a prime concern and children appear to enjoy much advertising.

2010 Professor Colleen Mclaughlin and Dr Barbie Clarke Relational matters: A review of the impact of school experience on mental health in early adolescence. Educational & Child Psychology Vol.27 No. 1 91

2010 Dr Barbie Clarke, Marc Goodchild & Andrew Harrison The Digital World of Children and Young Adolescents: Children’s Emotional Engagement with Digital Media. ESOMAR Congress 2010

2009 Dr Barbie Clarke Early Adolescents’ Use of Social Networking Sites to Maintain Friendship and Explore Identity: Implications for Policy.Policy & Internet Vol.1: Iss. 1, Article 3 (2009)

2009 Dr Barbie Clarke Friends Forever: How Young Adolescents Use Social-Networking Sites. Society Online 1541-1672/09/

2009 Dr Barbie Clarke The Way Children are Communicating Emotionally using Social Networking Sites. BACP April 2009

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