Banter or Bullying? Cybersmile and Instagram launch Anti-Bullying Week campaign

Anti-cyberbullying charity Cybersmile has announced a new partnership with Instagram for Anti-Bullying Week this week. As part of the partnership’s Banter or Bullying? the campaign, Cybersmile has produced a research report into the fine line between banter and bullying.

The research, which surveyed 3,001 13-18-year olds, aims to encourage young people to talk about the issue and call out those who try to use banter as an excuse for bullying.

The findings reveal that more than half (51%) of young people think banter can go too far and become bullying. Some two thirds (66%) of young people say that they see a peer left upset by banter at least once a month and over a third (39%) see this occur weekly. What’s more, almost half (47%) have been personally upset or insulted by banter.

The report and research demonstrate Cybersmile and Instagram’s ongoing commitment to leading the fight against online bullying and reiterates the importance of the social platform’s new Comment Warning and Restrict features. The campaign is backed by comedian Mo Gilligan and social media stars Zoe Sugg (founder of Zoella) and Chessie King, who will all be talking about their own experiences on the platform throughout the week.

Banter or Bullying? Cybersmile and Instagram launch Anti-Bullying Week campaign
Cybersmile tips for staying safe on Instagram

Dan Raisbeck, Co-founder, Cybersmile, said:

“As our research shows, too many young people are on the receiving end of bullying which is being masked as banter. This happens online and offline, and the two cannot be treated in isolation. We urge people to think about when they are overstepping the mark. By talking openly about this issue, we can help ensure that banter is kept safe from the bullies.”

Kira Wong-O’Connor, UK Policy Programmes Manager, Instagram, said:

“Banter should never be used as an excuse for bullying. We’re working hard to give people greater power to tackle bullying behaviour on Instagram, whether that’s restricting a bully from seeing when you’re online or giving you the option to post Stories to Close Friends only. This Anti-Bullying Week we’d encourage parents and teens to explore how our anti-bullying tools can help keep their experience on Instagram positive.”