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WHO Report: Cyberbullying on the Rise Among Adolescents

According to a report released by WHO Europe covering 44 countries, cyberbullying among children aged 11 to 15 has seen an alarming increase. The report revealed that 16 percent of children in this age group were cyberbullied in 2022, up from 13 percent four years ago.

“This report is a wake-up call for all of us to address bullying and violence, whenever and wherever it happens,” remarked Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, in a statement accompanying the report.

The study, titled “Health Behaviour in School-aged Children,” found that 15 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls reported being cyberbullied at least once in recent months. The pandemic has played a significant role in this trend, as virtual interactions have become more prevalent during lockdowns.

While cyberbullying has seen a sharp increase, other forms of bullying have remained relatively stable, with just a slight uptick. Approximately 11 percent of boys and girls reported being bullied at school at least two or three times a month, compared to 10 percent four years ago.

The report highlighted the concerning trend of adolescents spending up to six hours online daily, emphasizing that even minor changes in bullying rates can have profound implications for their health and well-being.

Interestingly, the study found that parents’ socioeconomic status had little impact on children’s behavior, except in Canada, where less advantaged youths were more likely to experience bullying.

To address this growing issue, the report emphasized the need for greater investment in monitoring different forms of peer violence, as well as urgent education for young people, families, and schools about cyberbullying and its consequences. Additionally, regulating social media platforms to limit exposure to cyberbullying was identified as a crucial step forward in combating this pervasive problem.

With cyberbullying peaking around ages 11 for boys and 13 for girls, the report underscores the importance of proactive measures to create safer online environments for adolescents across the globe.

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