The original article was published on Mashable on 12 August 2016. Written by Katie Dupere.
Young people around the globe have at least one unfortunate thing in common: Most have been impacted by bullying.
It’s a problem we’ve seen addressed over and over in an “after-school special” sort of way — but we often focus on the experiences of students in developed regions, like the U.S. and UK.
While those young people deserve attention and action to eradicate the effect of bullying on their lives, youth around the globe are also struggling with harassment. And their stories need to be heard and addressed, too.
In poll data released Friday for International Youth Day, more than 100,000 young people from 18 countries talked about the impact bullying has had on their lives and communities. The poll, conducted by UNICEF through polling portal U-Report, reached people between the ages of 13 and 30 from developing regions, including Senegal, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and Zambia. The only developed nation surveyed was Ireland.
These regions are often excluded in conversations around bullying. But, as the numbers show, that desperately needs to shift.
Here are six key facts from UNICEF’s poll, showing how youth around the globe experience bullying — and what those young people believe can be done to end the violence.
1. The overwhelming majority of youth around the globe see bullying as a major problem in their community.
More than 9 out of 10 youth globally say the persistent presence of bullying in their communities makes it a major issue in need of addressing.
“People often show their power by demonstrating the ability to abuse somebody,” Misha Kushka, 17, of Ukraine told UNICEF.
And that trend of harassment is something young people are noticing globally. More than 90 percent of youth in Senegal, Mexico, Uganda, Chile, Malaysia, Swaziland, Mali, Guinea and Indonesia called bullying a problem in their communities.
2. Most young people said they had personal experiences with bullying.
Two-thirds of the young people who participated in the survey reported having a personal experience with bullying. It’s a sobering result that shows just how alarming the problem of bullying is around the globe.
“Kids can be cruel, and usually are, when there is an opportunity,” Kseniya, 18, of Ukraine told UNICEF. “When someone is too loud, quiet, honest, weird — basically, simply different — there’s a high chance that the group would not accept him or her and make this person an outsider.”
The country that reported the highest percentage of bullied youth was Sierra Leone, where a staggering 72 percent of young people reported experiencing bullying. Uganda and Nigeria came in right behind, with 70 percent and 69 percent of youth, respectively, reporting an experience with peer harassment.
3. Global youth often don’t talk about their experiences with bullying.
Most young people reported that they told a friend or sibling about the bullying they experienced. But the next highest percentage of young people said they told no one.
A sizable number of bullied young people — 25 percent — said they felt they didn’t have anyone to tell about the harassment they experienced. In Pakistan, 45 percent of youth reported they didn’t know who to tell about their experience — the highest percentage of young people in any region surveyed.
Additionally, one-third of respondents said they thought being bullied was normal, so they did not tell anyone. Uganda and Sierra Leone tied for the regions where most youth stayed silent, each at 35 percent.
4. The majority of respondents said they were bullied because of their physical appearance.
Bullying based on appearance was especially prevalent in Ukraine, where 76 percent of young people named that as the reason for their harassment. The next highest region was Chile at 58 percent. But criticism based on appearance is largely universal for youth around the globe.
“Like teenagers around the world, Pakistani kids too just want to fit in — and being openly ridiculed for appearances (keep in mind [social media] posts are open to be viewed by anybody) can really be soul crushing,” Marziyya Malik, 25, of Pakistan told UNICEF.
Bullying was also highly attributed to gender, sexuality and ethnicity — common themes all seen in bullying in developed nations.
“Young people have to accept each other the way they are,” Alfabeto, 20, of Mozambique told UNICEF. “For that, it is imperative to respect our differences and change our mindset.”
5. Even with the popularity of online communication globally, youth are mostly experiencing harassment in-person.
In every country surveyed, more than half of young people said harassment is mostly happening in-person. The next most-popular medium was social media, especially in regions like Mali and Indonesia, where more than 40 percent of students reported bullying happening mostly online.
“A lot of the cases of bullying in my community are done online, through social media channels,” Mariel Alonzo, 20, of the Philippines told UNICEF. “I see people victimizing [one] another — publicly shaming them, barraging their accounts with threats and hate messages, and finally, influencing others to do the same.”
6. While youth are experiencing bullying at staggering rates, they know how to tackle the issue.
The majority of youth — between 40 and 50 percent in most regions — said increased awareness about peer harassment is needed in their schools to help solve the issue of bullying.
Young people from around the globe also called on schools to train teachers on how to tackle bullying more effectively, and some even suggested law changes to curb the impact of peer-on-peer emotional and physical violence.
To read the original article, click here.