Around 85 per cent of youth in Bangladesh say online bullying is a severe problem, according to a survey.
And 29 per cent of them said they were bullied before the pandemic, while 18 per cent said they experienced more online bullying since the onset of Covid-19, it said.
The survey was carried out by Grameenphone and Telenor Group, in association with Plan International, from August through September 2021 among youth in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand. Of the 3,930 respondents in the regional survey, 16 per cent respondents were from Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, 8 per cent youth experienced online bullying at least once a week or more since the pandemic. The survey revealed that 86 per cent of youth surveyed in Bangladesh spent more time online since Covid-19 began.
In addition, 35 per cent of youth in Bangladesh said they used the internet all the time, 15 per cent used it mainly in the evenings, and only 2 per cent limited their use to only during school hours.
The three most common platforms where youths experienced online bullying were social media, messaging apps, and online gaming and video game streaming platforms.
To stop bullying, respondents in the four countries said that they took several measures to safeguard themselves, including ignoring the bully, which resulted in the person stopping, changing security settings online so the person could not contact them, and speaking to a parent or guardian about the problem.
Grameenphone CEO Yasir Azma reiterated GP’s focus to address the issues outlined by the Telenor survey, said, “We’ve been working hard to drive awareness and keep our future generations safe online in collaboration with Telenor and partners such as UNICEF to address these risks. There is no denying our future generation needs digital skills and are active users of the internet.”
“Awareness, training on online bullying, and digital building resilience are crucial to be a multi-stakeholder exercise. This should not be left just to educational institutions but should also involve parents and caregivers,” said Manisha Dogra, VP, Sustainability for Telenor in Asia.
Across the four countries, the results show that 56 per cent are keen to learn more about dealing with online bullying on social media apps, 46 per cent protecting their privacy online, and 43 per cent improving their mental health and wellbeing.
Forty per cent respondents were interested in protecting themselves from online bullies on messaging apps, and 37 per cent dealt with online bullying during gaming and streaming video games.