KUALA LUMPUR: Three in 10 young Malaysians are victims of online bullying, which affects their education and social life, with the majority experiencing it through private messaging applications.
According to a new poll by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children in 30 countries, one in five young people were reported to have skipped school due to cyberbullying and violence.
Speaking out anonymously through the youth engagement tool U-Report, almost three-quarters of young people in the poll also said social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, are the most commonplace for online bullying.
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said bullying not just happens in school, but also in the cyber world.
“Connected classrooms mean school no longer ends once a student leaves class and unfortunately, neither does school-yard bullying, ” she said in a statement here yesterday.
In Malaysia, out of the more than 5,000 respondents, 457 or 9% admitted they had used digital platforms to harass or bully others.
The survey also found 63% of the Malaysians, who took part in the poll, were not aware of the cyberbullying helpline services.
UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children Najat Maalla M’jid also urged all parties, including government authorities, to work together to curb this problem.
“One of the key messages that we can clearly see is the need for children and the young people’s involvement and partnering, ” she said.
“When asked who should be responsible for ending cyberbullying, the opinions were equally divided between governments, Internet service providers (private sector) and young people themselves.”
A total of 170,000 participants aged from 13 to 24 from 30 countries including Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Indonesia and France took part in the survey.
Victims of online bullying can contact CyberSecurity Malaysia, Cyber999 via email to email@example.com, or SMS to 15888 using the following format: CYBER999 REPORT or the toll-free line at 1-300-88-2999. — Bernama