UNICEF poll: More than a third of young people in 30 countries report being a victim of online bullying
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One in three young people in 30 countries have been a victim of online bullying with one in five reporting having skipped school due to cyberbullying and violence This is contained in a new poll released by UNICEF and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) 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 commonplace for online bullying. “Connected classrooms mean school no longer ends once a student leaves class, unfortunately, neither do schoolyard bullying,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. Through the poll, young people were asked via SMS and instant messaging technology a series of questions relating to their experiences of online bullying and violence, where it most frequently happens, and who they think is responsible for ending it. Some 32 per cent of those polled believe governments should be responsible for ending cyberbullying, 31 per cent said young people and 29 per cent said internet companies. More than 170,000 U-Reporters aged 13-24 years old participated in the poll 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. The poll results challenge the notion that cyberbullying among classmates is a uniquely high-income issue. For example, 34 per cent of respondents in sub-Saharan Africa said they had been a victim of online bullying. Some 39 per cent said they knew about private online groups inside the school community where children share information about peers for the purpose of bullying. To end online bullying and violence in and around schools, UNICEF and partners are calling for urgent implementation of policies to protect children and young people, establishment and equipment of national helplines ,advancement of ethical standards and practices of social network providers, collection of better, disaggregated evidence about children and young people’s online behavior to inform policy and guidance and training for teachers and parents to prevent and respond to cyberbullying particularly for vulnerable groups.