Recent research into ‘Digital Friendships’



To mark this year's Safer Internet day (SID), the UK Safer Internet Centre released their research findings into the views of children and young peoples and their 'digital friendships'. The study surveyed 2,000 8-17 year olds on their feelings and attitudes towards social media. Interestingly, the results showed that children and young people are more likely to have a positive experience than a negative one. Here are some of the findings:


  • Two in five 8-17-year-olds say they have felt worried or anxious on the internet in the last week, with one in ten (11%) reporting they have often felt this
  • 68% of young people said that chatting to their friends online cheers them up
  • When a friend was feeling sad or upset, 88% of young people said they sent them a kind message
  • Almost half (49%) of young people said that in the last year someone had been mean to them online, with 1 in 12 experiencing this all or most of the time
  • In comparison, more than four in five young people (83%) have experienced people being kind to them online in the last year


However, many young people also face bullying, exclusion and a range of pressures to maintain their friendships and popularity. Almost half (47%) of respondents said that people had excluded them online in the last year, with 60% thinking it is important for friends to include them in group chats.


With reforms to Relationships and Sex Education on the horizon, it's positive to see the majority (72%) of young people wanted their school to teach them about cyberbullying and how to manage friendships online. However, one in ten of those surveyed say that they have not been taught this in school.

Here are some resources to help schools approach the topic of cycberbullying with their pupils.