Bullying has been part of our school life since our childhood days. Many of us can recall groups of class mates ganging up against new, shy or timid students to bully them. As we grew older, the location of the scene changed to ragging at colleges and universities. There was even an official “Rag Day” in the University to welcome first year students by ragging them.
With the advent of time and technology, the location for the bullying has naturally moved on to the cyberspace too. The problem here is that it does not end as the person leaves the premises of the education institution. “Connected classrooms means school no longer ends once a student leaves class, and, unfortunately, neither does schoolyard bullying,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.According to a poll released on Wednesday, one-third of all young people in 30 countries, including Bangladesh, have been bullied online, one-fifth reported skipping school because of bullying and three-quarters faced online bullying on social networks of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Special Representative on Violence against Children released the new poll participated anonymously by more than 170,000 young people between the age of 13 and 24 years through the youth engagement tool U-Report.
That over 1.7 lakh young people are victims of online bullying is very alarming for parents and guardians of young children. Young people were asked about their experiences of online bullying and violence via SMS and instant messaging. At least 32 per cent said governments should end cyber-bullying, 31 per cent put the onus on young people themselves to stop the harassment and 29 per cent cited internet companies must bear the chief responsibility.
The traditional methods of dealing with bullies are still basically the same. Parents and guardians must know what their children are doing online. Just because children are at home sitting at their desk does not mean they are studying or are focussed on studies.
There are no shortcuts to building children’s confidence by counselling to deal with various emergencies in this day and age of fast paced life where anything can happen anytime. The government, school authorities, internet service providers, social network administrators – all must unite to help children fight the cyber-bullies, as well as the real time ones too!