Half of teens around the world – about 150 million – have experienced peer violence in and around school, according to a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The number of children reporting bullying in the past month or participating in fights in the past year is growing. This phenomenon affects the education process and happiness of children in both rich and poor countries.
“Education is the solution to creating a conflict-free society, however, school is a dangerous place for millions of teens around the world,” said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF. “Students face many dangers every day, including fights, pressure to join armed groups, intimidation in person and on the Internet, harsh discipline, sexual harassment and armed violence. This affects their learning and well-being and can even lead to depression, anxiety and suicide. Violence is a lesson that cannot be forgotten and that none of the teens should learn.”
The Latest Statistics from UNICEF
- Globally, just over 1 in 3 teens between the ages of 13 and 15 are bullied, and about the same number are involved in fights.
- 3 out of 10 teens in 39 industrialized countries admit to bullying their peers.
- About 720 million teens live in countries where physical punishment in schools is not completely banned.
- Boys and girls are equally at risk of bullying, but girls more often report psychological bullying, and boys – physical abuse and threats.
- In the USA, 73% of children say they have experienced violence in schools.
UNICEF Calling for Action
To stop violence in schools, UNICEF requests immediate action:
- Implement laws to protect schoolchildren from violence.
- Strengthen prevention and response in schools.
- Encourage communities and people to support teens who report violence and to act to change the culture in the classroom and in the community.
- Take more successful and direct steps to keep teens safe.
- Collect quality information about teen abuse in and around school and share experiences of effective programs to end violence.
UNICEF calls on teens around the world to speak out to stop violence in and around schools, what ways they are using to stop this harmful legacy in school once and for all.
If a child (teenager) tells you that he or she has experienced domestic violence
- Trust him/her. He/she will not lie about the experience of bullying, especially if he/she talks very emotionally, with details, emotions correspond to the experienced state;
- Don’t judge him/her. After all, another person committed the violence, and your child suffered;
- Listen carefully, calmly and patiently to him/her, showing that you understand the full severity of his/her suffering;
- Do not underestimate his/her pain, saying that “nothing terrible has happened, everything is ok”;
- Do not reject him/her: if he/she meets condemnation, fear, anger, then this can inflict a deeper wound on him/her than the violence itself.