Instances of children being harassed by others on the Internet are on a higher side in India. Globally, India is third behind China and Singapore in cyber bullying or called online bullying.

Over half (53 per cent) of children in India have been bullied online, according to a new Global Youth Online Behaviour Survey released by Microsoft.

Wilful harm

Cyber bullying is “wilful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices,” says the Cyber bullying Research Centre in the US.

The report puts India third on the list behind China (70 per cent) and Singapore (58 per cent), highlighting the need to increase education about online behaviour in India amongst all stakeholders.

Conducted in 25 countries between January 11 and February 19, among more than 7,600 children of ages 8 to 17, the survey focussed on how kids are treating one another online and whether parents are addressing online behaviours.

In the survey, children were asked whether somebody was unfriendly or mean toward them on the Internet or if other children had made fun or teased them.

Globally, the survey also uncovered that children want to talk to parents about the issue, but only 29 per cent of kids say their parents have talked to them about protecting themselves online. What’s more, according to the results, there is not one common step taken by parents to address the problem, with only 17 per cent having communicated a clear set of rules for negative online behaviours.

“Protecting children from online bullying is a shared responsibility. Everyone plays a role: parents, educators, school counsellors, coaches, online safety advocates, industry, law enforcement, government and children themselves,” said Ms Jacqueline Beauchere, Director, Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft, told visiting journalists to the company’s headquarters in Redmond. Microsoft

Productive tools

Microsoft, which sponsored the trip of this correspondent to Seattle, empowers adults with productive tools and resources to help start the conversation with kids about how to stay safer online, she said.

For instance, the Stand Up To Online Bullying Quiz is interactive online quiz, which can be downloaded onto an company’s or school’s Web site as a teaching tool.

It is designed to walk adults through a series of scenarios in which, upon answering, the quiz delivers immediate guidance on how to talk about, identify and respond to the range of online behaviour from online meanness to bullying and beyond, she said.