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Safer Internet Centre

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Friendship in a Digital Age - new report launched

A new study into Friendship in a Digital Age launched by the UK Safer Internet Centre reveals that 30% of young people have been on the receiving end of mean online behaviour in the past year.

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.30% of 11-16s said someone was mean to them online in the last year

However, according to the online study of more than a thousand 11-16-year-olds conducted by ResearchBods, more than three quarters (78%) believe that young people have the power to create a kinder online community. The majority (88%) of the young people questioned say they always try to be kind in their online interactions.

78% of young people believe they have the power to create a kinder internet

The study reveals the huge role that technology plays in supporting young people’s friendships, with over half (55%) saying they interact online with their closest friends several times an hour and 63% saying they are closer to their friends because of the internet. Reassuringly the internet is a positive place for the majority of young people surveyed. When questioned about their time spent on social networks and messaging apps, the majority of 11-16s (63%) felt that people were kind to them on the internet most of the time.

2 in 3 young people say people are mostly kind to them online, compared to 1 in 20 who say that people are mostly mean

However, some young people face negative experiences online. Almost a third (30%) of young people said that someone had been mean to them in the last year, with 1 in 20 (5%) saying that people were mean to them most of the time on the internet.

That’s why everyone is being encouraged to play their part in creating a better internet this Safer Internet Day. What do you think makes a good online friend?

Young people share what they think makes a good friend online, with trust coming out as the most important