Australian Children are Amongst the Most Bullied in the World

Not a source of national pride.
May 29, 2024
Bullying takes several forms and all of them are prevalent here.

The latest data on bullying in English speaking countries has Australian children facing some of the highest rates of bullying.

Bullying is considered repeated and intentional use of words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. One in six students reported they have been made fun of by peers.

There are four types of bullying behaviour: physical (hitting, pushing, shoving or intimidating), verbal/written (name-calling or insulting someone about an attribute, quality or personal characteristic), social (deliberately excluding someone, spreading rumours, sharing information that will have a harmful effect on the other person and/or damaging a person’s social reputation or social acceptance), and cyberbullying (any form of bullying behaviour that occurs online or via a mobile device).

Education expert Dr Elise Waghorn says, "Australian students felt less safe at school compared to the OECD average, with only students from Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United States feeling less safe."

There is a strong correlation between disruptive and bullying behaviour and school performance.

"Australian students with the highest exposure to bullying scored an average of 27 points lower than their peers, equivalent to a year of learning.

"Two-fifths of students in Australia (42%) reported noise and disorder in most classes.

"High levels of distraction due to digital resources like smartphones and apps were reported by 40% of students.

"One-third of students (33%) claimed that their classmates didn't listen to what the teacher said.

“There are many impacts of bullying, disorder and disrespect that go beyond the classroom, which include children feeling disconnected, missing school, experiencing lack of quality of friendships, lowered self-esteem, and increased depression and anxiety.

“Parents can support children by affirming that the bullying not their fault. When they tell you about instances of bullying, reassure them that you will not take any action without discussing it with them first.

“Do not encourage retaliation - such as violent acts. Instead, praise your child for reaching out and asking for help, remind them that they are not alone.”

Image by Dan Burton