Around 85 per cent of Indian children have reported being cyberbullied as well as having cyberbullied someone else at rates well over twice the international average, according to a McAfee Cyberbullying report released on Sunday.
Cyberbullying includes racism, trolling, personal attacks and sexual harassment, among others.
The survey was conducted between June 15 to July 5 covering 11,687 parents and their children across 10 countries.
Three out of 4 (75%) of children in India have agreed to being engaged in at least one form of cyberbullying. "Cyberbullying in India reaches alarming highs as more than 1 in 3 kids face cyber racism, sexual harassment, and threats of physical harm as early as at the age of 10 - making India the number 1 nation for reported cyberbullying in the world," McAfee Chief Product Officer Gagan Singh said in the report.
Indian children witness and experience the maximum cyberbullying on almost every social media and messaging platform.
"…they are more likely to be cyberbullied by strangers compared to other children around the world, at 70 per cent in India versus 45 per cent worldwide," the report added.
According to Indian parents, 42 per cent of children have been the target of racist cyberbullying, strikingly 14 per cent higher than the rest of the world at 28 per cent.
"Extreme forms of cyberbullying reported besides racism include trolling (36 per cent), personal attacks (29 per cent), sexual harassment (30 per cent), threat of personal harm (28 per cent) and doxing (23 per cent), all of these at almost double the global average," the report said.
India also reported prominent acts of cyberbullying such as spreading false rumors at 39 per cent, being excluded from groups and conversations (35 per cent) and name calling (34 per cent).
"Indian children reported cyberbullying up to 1.5 times more than children in other countries across fourteen surveyed platforms, ranging from Facebook and Instagram to Snapchat and WhatsApp. The one exception is TikTok, which remains banned in India," the report said.
Nearly 3 out of 5 (58 per cent) children said that they have deleted a social media account to avoid cyberbullying, versus the 33 per cent global average. Also, 87 per cent said they talk to their friends about cyberbullying, which is 25 per cent above the international figure of 62 per cent, the report added.
According to the report, only 48 per cent of parents had conversations with their children about cyberbullying — much lower than the international average of 64 per cent.
Besides, 45 per cent of Indian children said they hide their cyberbullying experiences from parents, perhaps due to the relative absence of conversation, the report said.
Educating oneself and one's children about cyberbullying is one of the first steps one can take to address this issue. Creating an environment of open and honest communication, and offering professional help to children who are engaging in cyberbullying as well as being cyberbullied can help create a safer space for adolescents online.