AKIPRESS.COM - Around one-in-three young people across 30 countries say they have been bullied online, while one-in-five report that they have skipped school because of it. Those are some of the key findings in a new poll released on Wednesday by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Special Representative on Violence against Children.
Speaking out anonymously through the youth engagement tool U-Report, almost three-quarters of young people also said social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, are the most common place for online bullying.
“Connected classrooms mean school no longer ends once a student leaves class, and, unfortunately, neither does schoolyard bullying”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Improving young people’s education experience means accounting for the environment they encounter online as well as offline.”
Via SMS and instant messaging, young people were asked a series of questions about their experiences of online bullying and violence, including who they thought should be trying to end it.
Some 32 per cent of those polled believed governments should end cyberbullying, 31 per cent put the onus on young people themselves to stop the harassment and 29 per cent cited internet companies as bearing the chief responsibility.
“One of the key messages that we can clearly see from their opinions is the need for children and young people involvement and partnering” said Najat Maalla Mjid, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children. “We are in this together and we must share the responsibility in partnership.”
The poll results also challenge the notion that cyberbullying among classmates is something unique to wealthier schools.
More than 170,000 13 to 24 year-olds participated in the poll through the youth engagement tool U-Report, including young people from Albania, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, France, Gambia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Kosovo, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Moldova, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nigeria, Romania, Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.