Australian children have been given the inglorious honour of being named some of the world’s worst bullies, a new report has claimed.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report shows one in 10 Australian teenagers have been bashed or pushed at school and that 30 per cent of Australian high school students are victims of bullying.
That means Aussie teenagers are roughy three times more likely than Korean kids, and twice as likely as Chinese children, to be bullied at school.
After surveying 10 million 15-year-old students worldwide, the report found that 10 per cent of Australian kids were hit or pushed around by other students, compared to the global average of seven per cent.
Here are some of the other shocking findings from the report:
• One in seven Australian teenagers said fellow students had taken or destroyed their belongings
• 10 per cent were threatened and 12 per cent were the targets of nasty rumours
“When students feel safe at school, they tend to have better educational outcomes,’’ the OECD report says.
“An environment characterised by disrespect, bullying, victimisation or violence can act as a barrier to learning.
“Bullying at school can have long-lasting negative consequences for students’ psychological wellbeing and increases the likelihood of dropping out of school.’’
A leading Aussie youth adviser says the results are unsurprising, particularly given the rise of cyber-bullying.
Youth Legal Services CEO David Kernohan, said up to 50 per cent of young people had experienced cyber-bullying at some point in their lives – including his own son.
“They (the study findings) don’t surprise me, but they are shocking”, told radio station 6PR. “The impact on kids is disastrous in terms of their mental health, their academic achievements.”
He said that while schools often have their own policies around bullying, the problem of bullying in Australian teenagers is centred around their relationships.
“For teenagers relationships are often so important, so often they’re not willing to stand up to the bully because they will either lose the relationships or the friendships they have or they are afraid they’ll make it worse,” he said.
“So it’s really about teaching teenagers and children from an early age about how to stand up for themselves and how to have respectful relationships.”
The OECD report also warns that home schooling during pandemic lockdowns could disadvantage children from poorer families, who might not have access to computers, internet or tutors.
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