Cruel Facebook bullies target girls as young as 5 as cyberbullying cases increase
Statistics show young girls are more likely to use Facebook to harass people than young boys, but overall men are more likely to abuse people on social media. A five-year-old girl was among hundreds of youngsters bullied by online trolls on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The child's torment was revealed in statistics from West Midlands Police - which show a big increase in officers being called in to deal with social media abuse.
Figures show 415 people in the area complained to officers about harassment on Facebook last year, while 20 people complained about Twitter.
In the previous year 324 Facebook users contacted police, reports the Coventry Telegraph. The statistics show that young girls are more likely to use Facebook to harass people than young boys. Overall men are more likely to harass people on social media.
The figures show that since 2010 there have been 1,333 reported Facebook incidents breaching harassment or communications laws.
Of those 1,333 incidents 98 involved breaching restraining orders, 34 related to stalking and 179 put people in violence.
The vast majority referred specifically to harassment.
Punishments can range from warnings and fines, to prison sentences.
In January this year a 27-year-old woman from Bell Green was jailed for six weeks for perverting the course of justice after she sent threatening Facebook messages to an assault victim to try to stop him picking her boyfriend out in an identity parade.
Ian Edwards, chairman of West Midlands Police Federation, said the increase in online crime was putting added pressure on officers.
“Fraud, cyber crime and crime involving social media takes a lot more investigation,” he said.
“There’s a lot more time at a desk. It’s not just a case of ‘that person did it, arrest them’.
“This falls on staff who already have big case loads so you have to prioritise.
“When you do that there is always going to be a victim of crime who doesn’t feel that their crime is being properly investigated.
“We’re regularly told that crime is going down. From my point of view crime is changing.”
West Midlands Police issue advice to help people from becoming victims of crime on social media.
They recommend regularly changing passwords and usernames, using appropriate privacy settings and only accepting friend requests from people you know.
Online bullies regularly set up fake accounts and profiles, so if one slips through the net police recommend instantly blocking them.