The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has released a poll with some troubling numbers.
More than 170,000 13 to 24 year-olds in 30 different countries were asked a series of questions about their experience with cyberbullying. Nearly one in three young people said they’ve been cyberbullied, with about three-quarters of respondents citing social networks like Facebook and Instagram as the most common places for online bullying to take place.
Also reported: the embarrassment and fear that results from cyberbullying has kept a large number of kids and young adults from attending school. Twenty percent of those polled said they have stayed home from school after being targeted by online bullies.
Although there’s a stigma around bullying taking place predominately in wealthier schools, UN News says the respondents came from a range of both low income and high-income countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, France, Gambia, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Liberia, Romania, Sierra Leone, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. In fact, 34% of those polled in sub-Saharan Africa said they’ve been cyberbullied.
“All over the world, young people in both high and low-income countries are telling us that they are being bullied online, that it is affecting their education, and that they want it to stop,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in UN News. “As we mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we must ensure children’s rights are at the forefront of digital safety and protection policies.”
The respondents were also asked who they thought should be responsible for ending cyberbullying. Interestingly, over 30% said it’s the youngsters themselves who bear that burden, while 32% said it’s on governments, and 29% said it’s up to the Internet companies to put an end to the bullying that occurs on their platforms.
“One of the key messages that we can clearly see from their opinions is the need for children and young people involvement and partnering” Najat Maalla Mjid, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children in UN News said. “We are in this together and we must share the responsibility in partnership.”