Schools should be taking more responsibility to tackle cyber bullying, according to an anti-bullying charity, after an analysis of Google search data by Sky News reveals the link between schooling and online abuse.
Around a fifth of young people report being bullied each year and victims are more likely to experience physical and mental health issues.
Google search data suggests cyber bullying fell during the pandemic, despite fears that a move to online learning would lead to an explosion of online abuse among students.
Before the pandemic Google searches relating to the topic “school bullying” followed a consistent pattern: dips in the holidays and a large rise during anti-bullying week held each November.
During the pandemic search levels fell to an intensity only seen in the summer holidays previously. Unsurprisingly, school closures go hand in hand with decreased interest in school bullying.
Searches related to the topic “cyber bullying” also followed similar patterns before the pandemic – dips in the summer and rises in the autumn.
When the pandemic hit, some feared that school closures combined with children spending more time online would lead to a growth in cyber bullying.
But “cyber bullying” search intensity reduced during the pandemic, like it did around “school bullying”.
Can Google searches really tell us about the level of bullying occurring?
The search intensity of the topic “school bullying” will not exactly match the level of bullying…