WHERE: Almost one in six children are victims of cyberbullying

Danger signal from WHO

bbbb apati diadiktio Victim of harassment, WHO

Around 16% of 11- to 15-year-olds say they were victims of online harassment in 2022, an increase from the previous survey, data released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.

"This report is a wake-up call for us to fight harassment and violence wherever and whenever it occurs," said WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge.

The previous Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) report, based on data from 2018, said 13% of children this age had been harassed online.

The rate of physical bullying remains stable: 11% of children said they were bullied at school last year, up from 10% four years ago.

The pandemic has changed the way teenagers interact, the WHO said, explaining that digital forms of violence "began to take a particular toll" after covid-19, "when the world of young people became increasingly digital during the periods of quarantines".

According to the new report, 15% of boys and 16% of girls said they had been harassed online at least once in the past months.

Six hours on screen

The highest levels of harassment were recorded among boys in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Moldova, while the lowest among boys in Spain, the WHO said without elaborating.

"With young people spending up to six hours a day on the Internet, even small changes in rates of harassment and violence can affect the health and well-being of thousands of people," Kluge commented.

One in eight teenagers admitted to being harassed online by peers, a three-point increase on 2018, the report found.

279.000 children and adolescents from 44 countries and regions in Europe, Central Asia and Canada took part in the research.

In most areas cyberbullying peaks at age 11 for boys and 13 for girls.

Although there is not much difference in rates according to parents' occupation, in Canada more incidents of molestation were reported among the poorest children.

27% of girls from the least affluent 20% of households reported being bullied at school, compared to 21% of girls from the richest 20% of households.

"It is important to educate young people, families and schools about the forms of cyberbullying and its effects, while adopting social media regulations to reduce exposure to cyberbullying," the report concludes.

Source: KYPE