More than nine out of 10 young people believe bullying is a pervasive problem in their communities and two-thirds say they have experienced bullying first hand, a new poll conducted by Unicef and their partners shows.
The poll was conducted through U-Report, a youth engagement tool that provides a platform for more than two million young “U-Reporters” from more than 20 countries.
Through the poll, young people were asked through 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.
More than 100 000 young people, aged from 13 to 30, from Senegal, Mexico, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Ukraine, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Pakistan, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Indonesia and Zambia participated in the poll.
“Bullying, including online bullying, remains a largely misunderstood risk to the wellbeing of children and young people,” said Unicef’s senior advisor on child protection Theresa Kilbane.
“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.”
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 appearance. Bullying was also attributed to gender or sexual orientation and ethnicity.
One quarter of victims said they did not know who to tell. Many respondents believed that raising awareness around helping children to report bullying was one way to address the issue.