A study presented by the association e-Enfance and Caisse d’Epargne shows that isolation and the pandemic have increased the use of the Internet and social networks among 18-25 year olds with many negative effects.
Cyberbullying has become one of the bad components of the Internet and social networks that authorities, associations and various social actors are trying to combat. With the boom of social networks, but also the current crisis and the pandemic, the situation has not really improved.
A study* discovered jointly by the association e-Enfance/3018, which specializes in the protection and education of children online, and the Caisse d’Epargne, which has launched a sponsorship program to help the latter, even shows that always and more young adults are concerned about the problems of cyberbullying. And the consequences can be dramatic, as in teenagers.
60% of young people victims of cyberbullying
In 2021, a first study conducted by the two partners showed that 20% of elementary, middle and high school students were already affected by cyberbullying. New survey targeting older age groups reveals that 60% of 18-25 year olds have already been a victim of cyberbullying. And this figure, unfortunately, is also explained by the behavior after the health crisis.
With extra time often alone, away from any activity, from any real social relationships, 90% of the French surveyed admitted that they had increased the time spent on social networks in particular and on various websites (59% much more than before).
Clear about their sharply increasing digital practices, 70% of them admit that periods of isolation have made them more exposed than before to online risks, including piracy (34% cite it among the risks to which they are exposed), the sharing of personal information (21%), bad meetings (13%) and therefore cyberbullying.
Lack of support and awareness
But it is the consequences of cyberbullying that remain significant, both for the physical and mental health of the victims. Among the identified symptoms, 69% of them mention insomnia, appetite disorders or despair. But 51% admit that they have also been tempted by addictive behavior (alcohol or drugs) and almost one in two have thought about suicide (49%).
Therefore, the relationship of young people with social networks takes the form of “I love you, neither me”. Between strong attraction and rejection, they are so aware of the dangers that await them that they have to get lost in them, with accounts on 8 social networks on average. Online gaming is also seen as a toxic and conducive place for cyberbullying due to the relative anonymity between players. Boys are the main victims of cyberbullying in games, although recent cases involving female streamers have also shed light on the situation for female gamers.
And 18-25 year olds consider prevention useful (75%), but awareness insufficient. Therefore, they request the establishment of psychological support (62%), more help or information from specialized associations for cyber violence (52%).
“They are no longer children or teenagers and therefore no longer have support in the context of school education. We need more solutions,” laments Justine Atlan, president of e-Enfance, which also manages the 3018 number for listening and helping people up to 21 years old.
An app is also provided to store evidence of cyberbullying (photos, videos, screenshots) in a secure vault.
The association includes lawyers, institutional actors (police, justice), digital tools specialists, as well as psychologists to support callers. Each year, e-Enfance receives nearly 24,000 calls. During the first half of 2022, more than 7,000 accounts were deactivated on social networks.
*Study conducted by Audirep for the Caisse d’Epargne between May 18 and June 3, 2022, with a sample of 1 209 young people aged 18 to 25.