Violence and bullying are constant companions for children

According to a recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO), one in six school-age children are victims of cyberbullying. with hazardous effects on physical and mental health.

These are alarming numbers and they show one thing: children are not safe on the Internet. So they are constantly interacting with disturbing content, but precisely because of this, they are not good for each other: one in six schoolchildren between the ages of eleven and 15 have been bullied online. This is shown in a recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is a significant increase in recent years: “This report is a warning signal that we need to act against violence if and when it arises,” emphasized Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

According to the study results, the rate of physical assaults was almost eleven percent; It was ten percent four years ago. However, virtual forms of peer-to-peer violence have increased sharply since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“With young people spending up to six hours a day online, even small changes in bullying rates can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of thousands of people,” Kluge emphasized. According to a new study, 15 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls said they had been bullied online at least once in the past month.

The bully and the bully himself

The study is based on reports from nearly 280,000 children and youth in 44 countries in Europe, Central Asia and Canada. The highest rates of cyberbullying were recorded among boys in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Moldova, and the lowest rates were among boys in Spain.

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One in eight young people admitted to bullying others. In almost all countries, 11-year-old boys and 13-year-old girls are most affected. According to the study, parental wealth had little or no influence. Only in Canada are girls from poorer families more likely to be victims of cyberbullying than girls from wealthier families.

“There is a need to better examine the different forms of peer violence,” the report says. Young people, but also families and schools, need to be more aware of cyberbullying and its consequences. Additionally, online services should be better regulated to limit the risk of this occurrence.

According to the study, some victims of bullying suffer from headaches and stomachaches, as well as anxiety and depression. Many of the victims still feel the effects years later.

Violent content cannot be avoided

As British media authority Ofcom found in another study, children and young people cannot avoid coming into contact with disturbing content. And many come into contact with it in elementary school. Almost every British child surveyed for the Ofcom study has seen violent material online, from videos of local school and street fights to explicit and extreme graphic violence shared in group chats, including gang-related content.

Kids knew there was more serious stuff in the depths of the Internet, but they weren't looking for it, the report concluded.

Gill Whitehead, director of Ofcom's online safety group, said: “Children should not feel that seriously harmful content – including content depicting violence or self-harm – is an inevitable or inevitable part of their online lives.

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“Today's research sends a clear signal to tech companies that it's time to meet their obligations to protect children under new online safety laws. “We'll be consulting later this spring on how the industry can ensure children enjoy an age-appropriate, safe online experience.”

Almost every leading technology company was mentioned by children and young people surveyed by Ofcom, but Snapchat and Metas apps Instagram and WhatsApp were the most mentioned. (stone)

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