Internet safety amongst children is a real issue within the South African community. To prove this, we take a look at some research done in South Africa related to online safety. South African schools lack e-safety awareness and education that should be included in their curriculum. It has become a necessity that e-safety should be taught in schools and homes for South African youth to be safe within their online activities.

Learners aged 12 to 18+ years old were involved in this study. The participants were of both genders and different ethnic groups. The aim was to complete 2000 surveys. However, the final sample consisted of 1594 learners

  • 90% of the participants surveyed said that they use social networking sites. Mxit & Facebook were preferred.
  • 67.3% Said that they access it on a daily basis. 42,9% had been asked to meet someone they had only chatted to online.
  • Nearly 40% of these participants physically met someone who they do not personally know. The participants surveyed also indicated that 30% of these online people were not who they thought it was going to be.
  • 85.5% of the participants have a computer at home and 70.7% report that they have Internet access at home. However, children also access the Internet at schools.
  • 6% of the participants spend more than four hours per day on the Internet.
  • In addition, the majority (36.8%) use it in their bedrooms.
  • 62.7% do not have to ask permission when using the Internet and 54.4% use it under no supervision.

Research shows that 36% of the participants have experienced some form of cyber bullying and almost half of them said that they had not told anybody about this. As indicated, social networking sites and SMS/MMS were the most popular forms. More than half prefer to talk to a friend or a peer if they are being cyber bullied, 40% would talk to a parent/guardian and only 2% would choose to talk to a teacher. In addition, 24% of the participants confessed to making nasty comments about someone online once.