Ending the torment: tackling bullying from the schoolyard to cyberspace
Bullying, including cyberbullying, affects a high percentage of children at different stages of their development, often severely undermining their health, emotional wellbeing and school performance. Victims may suffer sleep disorders, headaches, stomach pain, poor appetite and fatigue as well as feelings of low-self-esteem, anxiety, depression, shame and at times suicidal thoughts; these are psychological and emotional scars that may persist into adult life.
Bullying is a key concern for children. It is one of the most frequent reasons why children call a helpline. It gains centre stage in surveys conducted with school children, and generates a special interest when opinion polls are conducted through social media with young people.
The recent U-Report initiative supported by UNICEF with more than 100,000 children and young people around the world illustrates this well: nine in every ten respondents considered that bullying is a major problem; two thirds reported having been victims; and one third believed it was normal and therefore did not tell anybody, while many did not know whom to tell or felt afraid to do so.