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Frightening data: More children being targeted by cyberbullying

Frightening data: More children being targeted by cyberbullying

Image source: © canva
Natalia Witulska,
28.03.2024 12:15

Disturbing statistics have been gathered by surveying approximately 280,000 children across 44 European countries and regions. The data reveals that nearly one in six school children is a victim of cyberbullying, which can result in severe consequences. It is crucial to provide support to our youngest generation during tough times.

Cyberbullying refers to the use of modern technology to perpetrate harm against another person. Through platforms such as social media, emails, text messages, private chats, or instant messaging, the aggressor engages in activities such as stalking, harassment, intimidation, or ridicule directed at the victim. Often, these actions occur anonymously, although instances exist where individuals openly bully others.

Regrettably, an increasing number of children and adolescents fall prey to cyberbullying. A recent report published by the European Office of the World Health Organisation on 27 March highlights the alarming reality: one in six schoolchildren already experiences bullying or harassment via modern technology.

Frightening data on violence among children and adolescents

The European Office of the World Health Organisation has published a report based on research conducted as part of the HBSC (Health Behaviour in School-aged Children) program. These surveys occur every four years and involve children aged 11, 13, and 15. The resulting report examines both cyberbullying and other forms of bullying among the youngest children.

According to the World Health Organisation’s findings, an average of 6% of European teenagers engage in violence against their peers. Boys (8%) exhibit more such behaviour than girls (5%). When it comes to experiencing violence, approximately 11% of respondents report incidents, with little difference between the sexes.

In comparison to "standard" violence, cyberbullying, which involves the use of new technologies and the internet, is more prevalent. Approximately 12% of teenagers admit to using cyberbullying tactics against others, with a higher proportion of boys (14%) than girls (9%). Shockingly, 15% of the surveyed children acknowledge experiencing online bullying. This represents an increase compared to the 2018 survey, during which 12% of students admitted to being victims of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying and children’s mental health

Experiencing violence or cyberbullying can have a profound impact on the well-being and mental health of the victim. Continuous bullying, harassment, or ridicule can cause long-term trauma, ultimately affecting how a teenager behaves in relationships or friendships as an adult. It is alarming to note that an increasing number of children and teenagers are struggling with cyberbullying.

"This report is a wake-up call for all of us to address bullying and violence, whenever and wherever it happens," said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO’s Regional Director for Europe. "With young people spending up to six hours online every single day, even small changes in the rates of bullying and violence can have profound implications for the health and well-being of thousands," he added.

"From self-harm to suicide, we have seen how cyberbullying in all its forms can devastate the lives of young people and their families," added WHO’s Kluge. "This is both a health and a human rights issue, and we must step up to protect our children from violence and harm, both offline and online".

Source: Euronews

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