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Largest Study on Cyberlife

Cyberlife: Life with the internet is turning into life on the internet. For children and young adults, in particular, cyberspace is a very emotional part of their everyday life. Whether for free time, distraction, problem-solving, search for identity, communication, violence or delinquency – the extremes on the internet are as many and varied as in “real” life. How do children and young adults perceive these issues? How do adults and teachers respond to them? These and other questions are explored in the largest German study on cyberlife. The “Bündnis gegen Cybermobbing e.V.” (Alliance against Cyberbullying) and ARAG jointly conduct this study.

More than 9,000 schoolchildren, teachers and parents will take part in this survey on life on the internet, making the cyberlife study the largest investigation of its kind in Germany to date. The study will examine the internet behavior of interviewees and ask about their actual knowledge of cyberbullying and how they deal with it.

“We decided to engage in this very extensive study because it is time to investigate this very emotional issue objectively. There is a wealth of fragmented information available, but no view of the whole matter. This is what we want to change now,” says Uwe Leest, Chairman of the Management Board of ”Bündnis gegen Cybermobbing”.

The key objective of this study is to grasp more precisely the phenomena of cyberbullying and violence on the internet in order to develop more effective ways of protection and prevention. An essential prerequisite for achieving this is a broad participation which currently becomes apparent.

“Taking a snapshot of today’s cyberlife as well as countermeasures against cyberbullying are both growing social issues. Neither demonizing nor trivializing is appropriate. We as a company are interested in the social developments in this area that we will face in the future. That is why we are considerably supporting this project,” explains Dr. Paul-Otto-Faßbender, Chairman of the Management Board of Düsseldorf-based ARAG SE, the commitment of the family-owned enterprise.

The first results of the study reveal:

The new media have changed juvenile violence: anonymity leads increasingly to uninhibited behavior such as cyberbullying.
The media developments Web 2.0 and co. have made parental upbringing more difficult than previously thought and are overtaxing many parents.
Institutional measures on education about and prevention of cyberbullying and cybercrime as well as support systems are lacking extensively at German schools.

The survey started in November 2012 and was completed at the end of February 2013. The results of this largest Germany-wide study are due to be published in late April/early May.