(File Pix) Cyberbullying victims mostly experience it through social networking

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 United Nations (UN) Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) 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 said social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, were the most common place for online bullying.

Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said bullying did not just happen at school, but also in the cyberworld.

“Connected classrooms meant school no longer ends once a student leaves class, and unfortunately, neither does schoolyard bullying,” she said yesterday.

In Malaysia, out of the more than 5,000 respondents who joined the survey, 457 or nine per cent said they had used digital platforms to harass or bully others.

The data also found 63 per cent of the Malaysian correspondents were not aware that there existed cyberbullying helpline services.

UN SRSG on Violence against Children Najat Maalla M’jid urged all parties, including government authorities, to work together to curb this problem.

“One of the key messages that stood out from their opinions is the need for children and young people’s involvement and partnering.

“When asked who should be responsible for ending cyberbullying, the opinions were equally divided between governments, Internet service providers (private sector) and young people.”

A total of 170,000 participants, aged 13 to 24 from 30 countries including Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Indonesia and France, took part in the survey.

For those who are experiencing online bullying, contact CyberSecurity Malaysia, Cyber999 via email to [email protected] or SMS to 15888 using the following format: CYBER999 REPORT or the toll-free line at 1-300-88-2999. -- Bernama

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