Cyberbullying in Brazil: findings from the Brazilian Kids Online Survey

26 October 2017

In 2015, about eight out of ten Brazilian children aged 9 to 17 years used the internet, corresponding to 23.4 million users throughout the country. The Brazilian Kids Online survey collects data on opportunities, rights and risks of these young internet users in Brazil, amongst which online violence and bullying. The survey has been conducted annually since 2012 by the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br). It follows the methodological framework developed by the EU Kids Online network, which allows for international comparisons of data.

Main drivers of online discrimination

One of the themes of the survey is exposure to discriminatory content online. Four out of ten children who were internet users (40%) said they had seen someone being discriminated against on the internet in the 12 months prior to the interview – equivalent to 9.3 million children. Contact with discrimination was mentioned less frequently among younger children and more frequently among older ones. Color or race was the most mentioned cause (25%) by those who had witnessed someone being discriminated against, followed by physical appearance (14%) and same-sex attraction (11%) (See Figure 1). Among children who were internet users, 20% reported having been subjected to cyberbullying and 12% had behaved offensively online.

See top figure: Proportion of children by type of discrimination witnessed on the internet in the last 12 months (2015)

The survey states that these online risk situations must be targeted not only by education policies and other government actions related to internet safety, but also by parental mediation strategies. The research stresses that these problems are not exclusive to the internet, and occur simultaneously in the everyday offline lives of young Brazilians.

This article was drafted by Alexandre F. Barbosa and Maria Eugenia Sozio, at the request of UNESCO to make available data evidence on the SDG target 4.a.2. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and should not be attributed to UNESCO. For further information, see the Survey on Internet Use by Children in Brazil – ICT Kids Online Brazil 2015: http://cetic.br/media/docs/publicacoes/2/TIC_Kids_2015_LIVRO_ELETRONICO.pdf.