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Online bullying a serious problem in Bangladesh: Telenor Survey

  • Special Correspondent
  • 1 November, 2021 12:00 AM
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Online bullying a serious problem in Bangladesh: Telenor Survey

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At least 85 percent of youth here said that online bullying is a severe problem in Bangladesh, a survey revealed. 

The Grameenphone and Telenor Group, in association with Plan International, ran a survey in August and September 2021 among youth as the backdrop on how internet use and online bullying trends have changed across four countries, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand, said a release.

Of the 3,930 respondents in the regional survey, 16 percent respondents were youths from Bangladesh.

The survey revealed that 85 percent of these youth in Bangladesh said that online bullying is a severe problem, said a GP release yesterday. 

With the ongoing digitalization in Bangladesh, this is a concern that requires greater attention and awareness. 29 percent of Bangladesh youths said they were bullied before the pandemic, while 18 percent said they experienced   more online bullying since the onset of COVID-19.

In Bangladesh, 8 percent of youths have experienced online bullying at least once a week or more since the pandemic. The three most common platforms where youths experienced online bullying were social media, messaging apps, and online gaming and video game streaming platforms.

To stop the bullying online, respondents in the four countries said that they took several measures to safeguard themselves, which included ignoring the bully, which resulted in the person stopping, changing security settings online so the person could not contact them, and speaking to a parent or guardian about the problem.

Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone,  reiterated Grameenphone's focus to address the issues outlined by the Telenor survey. "We've been working hard to drive awareness and keep our future generations safe online in collaboration with Telenor and partners such as UNICEF to address these risks. We, therefore, need to intensify cooperation and commitment with various stakeholders to keep them safe.”

 The survey results set a call to action to focus on this issue collectively, he said, adding, It is great to see the Bangladesh Government taking a bold step to include this very relevant subject in the National Curriculum with a mission to amplify awareness.

" Awareness, training on online bullying, and digital building resilience are crucial to be a multi-stakeholder exercise. This should not be left just to educational institutions but should also involve parents and caregivers," said Manisha Dogra, VP, Sustainability for Telenor in Asia. "While companies such as Telenor already play an active role in Online Safety initiatives, results can be amplified even more with collaborative participation, in partnerships with governments, civil society, and academia."

The survey also asked youths what they wanted as further guidance and training to protect themselves online.

Across the four countries, the results show that they are keen to learn more about dealing with online bullying on social media apps (56pc), protecting their privacy online (46pc) and improving their mental health and wellbeing (43pc).

Additionally, the respondents were interested in protecting themselves from online bullies on messaging apps (40pc) and dealing with online bullying during gaming and streaming video games (37pc).

The survey also revealed that 86 percent  of youths surveyed in Bangladesh spent more time on the internet since COVID-19 began. In addition, 35 percent of youth in Bangladesh said they used the internet all the time, 15 percent used it mainly in the evenings, and only 2 percent limited their use to only during school hours.