Bullying a “pervasive problem” for majority of young people: UN

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug 13 (APP): About 97 per cent of young people believe that bullying is a pervasive problem in their communities, and two-thirds say they have been bullied, a new survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and their partners finds.

The poll was conducted on 5 April this year through U-Report, a rapidly growing youth engagement tool that provides a platform for young people  from more than 20 countries.

“U-Reporters” with an estimated age of 13 to 30 were asked, via SMS, Facebook and Twitter, a series of questions relating to the impact of bullying in their community, their own personal experiences of bullying  and what they think can be done to end this type of violence.

Asked if bullying is a problem, 97.2 per cent of the 468 respondents said “yes.” Asked if they have been bullied, 67 per cent of the 417 respondents said “yes.”

Those polled include youth from Pakistan, Senegal, Mexico, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Ukraine, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Indonesia and Zambia.

“Bullying, including online bullying, remains a largely misunderstood risk to the wellbeing of children and young people,” Theresa Kilbane, UNICEF’s Senior Adviser on Child Protection, said.

“To end this type of violence, we must improve public awareness of the harmful impact of bullying, equip teachers, parents and peers with the skills to identify risks and report incidents, and provide care and protection for victims,” she added.

The poll also shows that one-third of respondents thought being bullied was normal so they did not tell anyone.

The majority of respondents who reported being victims of bullying said they were bullied because of their physical appearance. Bullying was also attributed to gender orientation  and ethnicity.

One quarter of victims said they did not know who to tell.

More than 80 per cent of respondents believe that raising awareness, including through teacher training, around helping children to feel comfortable reporting is one way to address the issue in schools.

UNICEF works to engage children and adolescents on the impact of bullying as part of its global End Violence Against Children initiative, including through the U-Report platform and its End Violence social media campaign.