Half Of World’s Teens Say They Have Been Bullied At School – UNICEF

Students are facing multiple dangers

150 million – half of the world’s teens – say they have been bullied at school.

In Canada, half of students aged 13 to 15 say they were bullied in the last month or have been involved in a physical fight at least once in the last 12 months.

UNICEF Canada President and CEO, David Morley says violence is an unforgettable lesson no child should have to learn.

“Too many teenagers across Canada carry a large burden of violence. Bullying and fighting at school affects learning and mental health, and it can affect children long into the future.”

UNICEF’s report An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools says students are facing multiple dangers, from fighting and pressure to join gangs to bullying, violent discipline, sexual harassment and armed violence. It says it impacts their learning and can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide.

The report includes the following data:

  • Globally, slightly more than 1 in 3 students aged 13-15 experience bullying, and roughly the same proportion are involved in physical fights.
  • 30% of students in 39 industrialized countries admit to bullying peers.
  • In Canada, 34% of students experience bullying (at least once in the past couple of months) and 25% report bullying peers.
  • In Canada, 50% of students experience bullying (in the past month) and/or fighting (in the past year).
  • In 2017, there were 396 documented or verified attacks on schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 26 on schools in South Sudan, 67 attacks in the Syrian Arab Republic and 20 attacks in Yemen.
  • Nearly 720 million school-aged children live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited.
    While girls and boys are equally at risk of bullying, girls are more likely to become victims of psychological forms of bullying and boys are more at risk of physical violence and threats.

Violence involving weapons in schools, such as knives and guns, continues to claim lives. It also says that in an increasingly digital world, bullies are disseminating violent, hurtful and humiliating content with the tap of a key.

Morley says we need to empower our kids to speak out against bullying and learn how to resolve conflicts peacefully, but it is adults’ responsibility to protect children from all forms of violence in our homes, in society and in schools.

The report calls for urgent action in the following areas:

  • Implementing policies and legislation to protect students from violence in schools. Policies addressing bullying as well as strategies for broader student well-being, nutrition and equity are key to reducing violence and promoting learning.
  • Urging communities and individuals to join students as they speak up about violence and work to change social attitudes about violence.
  • Limiting poverty and broader social inequality
  • Collecting better, disaggregated data on all forms of violence against children and sharing what works.


banner image: Thomas Ricker via Flickr