House of Representatives Committees

| Parliamentary Joint Committee on Cyber-Safety

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Appendix D – Survey Methodology

The intention of the Committee’s Are you safe? survey was to gather the opinions and experiences of young people on the topics of cyber-safety, cyber-bullying and their strategies to mitigate online dangers. Other issues explored included who are the main support networks of young people, the rate of cyber-safety awareness and the types of information young people divulge online. The survey’s respondents also had valuable and numerous proposals as to how cyber-safety can be promoted and cyber-bullying reduced.

A combined qualitative and quantitative approach was adopted. The online survey form included a series of set answers that respondents could choose from as well as a free text space for most questions. The Committee received almost 60,000 comments from its total participants (33,751).

The survey was advertised extensively. It was circulated to approximately 7,000 primary and secondary schools throughout Australia. Senators and Members of Parliament were also contacted to request that they place a link to the survey on their websites, social networking profiles and in constituent newsletters. Similarly, submitters to the inquiry were contacted to promote the survey through their networks.

Due to the target audience and subject-matter, the Committee realised that online advertising would be essential. Consequently, the survey was advertised on Facebook and Google following previous success with these sites. In addition to Committee-directed advertising, the survey was advertised online by industry leaders and on state governments as a result of the Committee’s continued engagement and outreach to these groups. These included Microsoft’s GovTech, Bravehearts, the Tasmanian Police and others.

Sample

The analysis sample consisted of 33,751 self-selected and school-selected participants aged between 5 and 18 years of age. Self-selected participants were sourced from a series of online and printed media campaigns. Participants were also sourced as a result of the Committee’s invitation to some 7,000 schools around Australia. 

The majority of participants were aged between 10 and 15 years of age (80.7%). Of the total respondents that identified their gender, 53.2% were female and 46.8% were male.

Content

It was important to the Committee to hear from young Australians from a broad age group: 5 to 18 years of age. The breadth of this target group required the Committee to develop two streams that were age appropriate.

The first stream was for children up to 12 years of age, and the second was for young people aged between 13 and 18 years of age. The two age groups mirror the national average age of primary school students and high school students respectively. To ensure their suitability, questions were framed in accessible language and developed in partnership with an external consultant with expertise in social research. 

The first, younger stream consisted of 16 to 18 quantitative questions of which 10 had a supplementary qualitative question. Certain questions were omitted if respondents answered in the negative to earlier questions. Similarly, the older stream consisted of 22 to 24 web-based questions, with 13 qualitative questions. Again, questions were omitted if respondents answered earlier questions that would have made later questions redundant.

The combination of both qualitative and quantitative questions allowed flexibility in the data collection as well as providing the survey’s young participants an opportunity to clarify their selections in quantitative questions. The qualitative questions also allowed the Committee to receive in-depth descriptions of experiences as well as suggestions directly from young people on how governments, industry, schools and parents might best tackle issues of cyber-safety and cyber-bullying.

Both streams asked questions about privacy, prevalence of cyber-safety concerns, awareness of resources and avenues of assistance, and existing education programs. Also included were questions specifically on cyber-bullying, including its perceived frequency, motivations, how those involved responded, and methods for reducing its prevalence. 

Once the respondent completed the survey, they were invited to make further recommendations to the Committee. The Committee received 11 submissions as a result of this invitation.

While responses to the survey were anonymous, respondents were asked to provide some basic demographic information (age and gender) to assist with the analysis of responses.

Data analysis

Due to the fact that many of the questions offered multiple responses, reported percentages often do not equal 100%.

Some survey respondents did not provide details of their age and/or their gender. Where tables and graphs present data on either of these two particulars, the unstated figures are specifically identified (where appropriate) or discounted from the analysis.

Importantly, the survey methodology relied on a degree of self-selection rather than strict cross-sectional population sampling. The survey was intended to be descriptive and findings should not be used to extrapolate to the general youth population. Furthermore, as responses to the survey were anonymous the authenticity of input cannot be guaranteed.

Online Survey for 12 years and younger

The survey for 12 years and younger included the following preamble:

Are you 12 years or under? Please tell us how you stay safe online!

Information you and your parents might want to know:

The Australian Parliament is holding an inquiry into cyber-safety issues facing young Australians, and would like to hear your views. We are particularly interested in young Australian’s views about the dangers online including cyber-bullying, stalking, identity theft and breaches of privacy.

This survey will be completely anonymous and we will not know who you are. By clicking the link below, you will be taken to a secure survey website.

The information you give us will be used to tell the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety about the experiences young people have with cyber-safety and cyber-bullying. It will also be used to help write the final report, which will contain recommendations to the Australian Government on what can be done about these issues.

Questions for 12 years and younger

  1. Do you think that you are anonymous when you are online?

n  Yes

n  No

  1. What information about yourself is ok to put up on a webpage or over the internet that strangers might read?

n  Your name        

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  Your address

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  Your telephone number         

Þ    Yes /No / I don’t know

n  Your age or birthday   

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  Bank account information about you or your family

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  The school you attend

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

n  Nude or semi-nude photos to others via text message or email

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

n  If you are going on holiday    

Þ    Yes /No / I don’t know

n  Your passwords or email addresses

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

n  Post photos of others without their permission                 

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

Would you like to tell us more?


  1. Have you ever felt unsafe on the internet?

n  Yes

n  No

Would you like to tell us more?

 

  1. Who do you feel you could talk to if you were worried about something you saw on the internet?

n  Your family

n  Your friends

n  Your teacher

n  The police

n  The administrators of the site

n  Talk to no one

n  Other [free text option]

Is there anything more you would like to tell us?

  1. Does anyone in your family talk about how to stay safe when you are on the Internet?

n  Yes

n  No


  1. Are you about your safety when you are on the Internet?

n  Yes, I’m worried a lot

n  Yes I’m worried a bit

n  No, I’m not worried


  1. Where did you learn about safety when using the Internet?

n  At school

n  Information on internet

n  From family

n  From friends

n  Never learnt about it

n  Other [free text option]

 

  1. What do you think can be done to make you safer online?

n  Talk about it more with family

n  Learn about it at school

n  Ask friends

n  More policing and enforcement

n  Tougher filtering of the Internet

n  Make public internet access such as libraries safer

n  Nothing, it is safe now

Anything else that can be down to make it safer online? [free text option]

 

DEFINITION GIVEN ON CYBER-BULLYING

Cyber-bullying is when these things happen AGAIN AND AGAIN to someone who finds it hard to stop it from happening:

 

Image as described above

When you answer the next questions, please think about cyber-bullying in this way. You can look back at this definition to remind yourself of what cyber-bullying is by clicking the links in the questions.

 

  1. Of the following groups, who do you think is most often cyber-bullied?

n  Boys

n  Girls

n  Strangers

n  Other [free text option]

 

  1. In the last year, do you know anyone who was cyber-bullied?

n  Yes

n  No

Want to tell us more?

 

  1. In the last year, has someone cyber-bullied you?

n  Yes

n  No

 

  1. You told us that during the past year, somebody has cyber-bullied you. Who did you tell?

n  I did not tell anyone

n  I told.... [free text space]


  1. When you were cyber-bullied, what did you do about it?

n  Block the bully or removed as a friend from Facebook or other similar sites

n  Spoke to the bully

n  Told a friend

n  Stayed offline

n  Told adult or family member

n  Got back at them

n  Did nothing

n  Other [free text space]

 

  1. Why do people cyber-bully?

n  Mixing with the wrong crowd

n  People looking for a fight

n  Fighting over girls or boys

n  Copy cat of news stories

n  Boredom

n  Bad home life

n  Lack of respect for others

n  Don’t like people with disabilities

n  Don’t like people from different backgrounds

n  Other [free text option]

 

  1. What can be done to stop cyber-bullying?

n  Teach people how to get along better

n  Teach people how to control their anger

n  Better education on staying safe online

n  Provide more policing and enforcement

n  Provide more safe youth centres with entertainment and recreational facilities

n  Increasing Internet filtering options

n  Other? [free text option]

 

Want to tell us more?

  1. Are you a...

n  Boy

n  Girl

  1. How old are you?

n  5

n  6

n  7

n  8

n  9

n  10

n  11

n  12

Message on completed page

Thank you for completing our survey!           

If you ever feel unsafe online, or need help with cyber-bullying logon to http://cybersmart.gov.au/report.aspx to get help or report what you have seen.

Online Survey for 13 years and older

The survey for young people aged between 13 and 18 was preceded by the following preamble:

Are you aged between 13 and 18 and want to have your say in the development of safer online environments?

The Australian Parliament is holding an inquiry into cyber-safety issues facing young Australians, and would like to hear your views. We are particularly interested in your views about the dangers online including cyber-bullying, stalking, identity theft and breaches of your privacy.

This survey will be completely anonymous and it will not be possible for us to identify anybody who participates in this survey. By clicking the link below, you will be taken to a secure survey website.

The information you provide will be used to inform the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety about the experiences young people have with cyber-safety and cyber-bullying. It will also be used to help write the final report, which will contain recommendations to the Australian Government on what can be done about these issues.

Questions for 13 years and older

  1. Do you think that you are anonymous when you are online?

n  Yes

n  No

  1. What information about yourself is ok to put up on a webpage or over the internet that strangers might read?

n  Your name        

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  Your address

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  Your telephone number         

Þ    Yes /No / I don’t know

n  Your age or birthday   

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  Bank account information about you or your family

Þ    Yes / No / I don’t know

n  The school you attend

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

n  Nude or semi-nude photos to others via text message or email

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

n  If you are going on holiday    

Þ    Yes /No / I don’t know

n  Your passwords or email addresses

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

n  Post photos of others without their permission                 

Þ    Yes /No /I don’t know

Would you like to tell us more?

 

  1. Have you ever felt unsafe on the internet?

n  Yes

n  No

Would you like to tell us more?

 

  1. Who do you feel you could talk to if you were worried about something you saw on the internet?

n  Your family

n  Your friends

n  Your teacher

n  The police

n  The administrators of the site

n  Talk to no one

n  Other [free text option]

Is there anything more you would like to tell us?

 

  1. Does anyone in your family talk about how to stay safe when you are on the Internet?

n  Yes, frequently

n  Yes, sometimes

n  Yes, when I ask about it

n  No, never

 

  1. How worried are you about your safety when you are on the Internet? Would you say...

n  Worried all of the time

n  Worried most of the time

n  Worried some of the time

n  Not worried at all

 

  1. Where did you learn about your personal safety when using the Internet?

n  At school

n  Information on internet

n  From family

n  From friends

n  Never learnt about it

n  Other [free text option]

 

  1. If you have a facebook page, myspace account or other webpage on a social networking site, have you explored the privacy settings provided by these sites?

n  Yes

Þ    I have left them at the default setting

Þ    I have increased them to the highest setting

Þ    I like everybody being able to access my page, so I don’t have any privacy settings enabled

n  No

n  I don’t know

n  I don’t have a social networking page

 

  1. Do you think more can be done to make it safer online?

n  Yes

n  No

n  I don’t know

 

  1. What do you think can be done to ensure safety online?

n  Talk about it more with family

n  Learn about it at school

n  Ask friends

n  More policing and enforcement

n  Tougher filtering of the Internet

n  Make public internet access such as libraries safer

n  Nothing, it is safe now

n  Anything else that can be done to make it safer online?

 

  1. Of the following activities, what do you think is cyberbullying?

n  Posting or sending embarrassing photos of someone else

n  Teasing someone in

Þ    emails

Þ    chat rooms

Þ    discussion groups

Þ    online social networking sites

Þ    instant messaging services

n  Spreading rumours online

n  Sending unwanted SMS or emails

n  Sending hurtful SMS or emails

n  Creating fake profiles or websites

n  Are there any other things that are cyber-bullying?

 

  1. Is repeatedly searching someone’s facebook page or blog, stalking?

n  Yes

n  No

n  I don’t know

 

  1. Would you say that cyber-bullying

n  Seems to be increasing

n  Seems to be decreasing or

n  Has not changed

 

  1. Of the following groups, who do you think is most often targeted by cyber-bullies?

n  Boyfriends

n  Girlfriends

n  Other friends

n  Others at school or at your job

n  Strangers

n  Other [free text option]

 

  1. In the last 12 months, have you seen (but not been involved in) cyber-bullying among young people?

n  Yes

n  No

n  Could you tell us something about that? [free text option]

 

  1. In the last 12 months, have you been the victim of cyber-bullying?

n  Yes

n  No

 

  1. You told us that during the past 12 months, you have been cyber-bullied. Who did you tell?

n  I did not tell anyone

n  I told...

Þ    Family

Þ    Friends

Þ    Teacher

Þ    Police

Þ    Manager of the website

Þ                The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

Þ                Other [free text option]

 

  1. What did you do about it?

n  Block the bully or removed as a friend from Facebook

n  Confronted the bully

n  Told a friend

n  Stayed offline

n  Told adult or family member

n  Sought revenge or paid them back

n  Ignored it

n  Other [free text space]

 

  1. In the last 12 months, have you been directly involved in cyber-bullying?

n  Yes

n  No

 

  1. What do you think are the three main factors that lead to cyber-bullying?

n  Mixing with the wrong crowd

n  People looking for a fight and/or have an aggressive personality

n  Fighting over girls or boys

n  Copy cat of news stories

n  Boredom

n  Bad home life

n  Lack of respect for others

n  Not liking people with disabilities

n  Not liking people from different backgrounds

n  Other [free text option]

 

What do you think can be done to reduce cyber-bullying?

n  Teach people how to get along better

n  Teach people how to control their anger

n  Better education on staying safe online

n  Provide more policing and enforcement

n  Provide more safe youth centres with entertainment and recreational facilities

n  Increasing Internet filtering options

n  Nothing more can be done

n  Any other things, please tell us? [free text option]

Want to tell us more?

 

Finally, are you male or female?

n  Male

n  Female

 

How old are you?

n  13

n  14

n  15

n  16

n  17

n  18


Message on completed page

Thank you for completing our survey!

If you wish to provide us with more information about your experiences, or have an idea of what we can do to promote cyber-safety and reduce cyber-bullying, please send an email to cybersafety@aph.gov.au. For more information about the inquiry please visit aph.gov.au/cybersafety.

If you ever feel unsafe online, or need help with cyber-bullying logon to http://cybersmart.gov.au/report.aspx to get help or report what you have seen.



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