One in three young people in 30 countries said they have been a victim of online bullying, with one in five reporting having skipped school due to cyberbullying and violence, a new poll said Wednesday.
Speaking out anonymously through the youth engagement tool U-Report, almost three-quarters of young people also said social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, are the most common place for online bullying.
More than 170,000 U-Reporters aged 13-24 years old participated in the poll released by UNICEF and the UN special representative of the secretary-general on violence against children, including young people from 30 countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
"Connected classrooms mean school no longer ends once a student leaves class, and, unfortunately, neither does schoolyard bullying," said UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore. "Improving young people's education experience means accounting for the environment they encounter online as well as offline."
According to the poll, some 32 percent of the young people believe governments should be responsible for ending cyberbullying, 31 percent said young people and 29 percent said internet companies.
"One of the key messages that we can clearly see from their opinions is the need for children and young people 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 themselves," said Najat Maalla M'jid, UN special representative of the secretary-general on violence against children. "We are in this together and we must share the responsibility in partnership."
The poll results challenge the notion that cyberbullying among classmates is a uniquely high-income issue. 34 percent of respondents in sub-Saharan Africa said they had been a victim of online bullying. Some 39 percent said they knew about private online groups inside the school community where children share information about peers for the purpose of bullying.
"All over the world, young people -- in both high and low-income countries -- are telling us that they are being bullied online, that it is affecting their education, and that they want it to stop," said Fore. "As we mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we must ensure children's rights are at the forefront of digital safety and protection policies."