One in three teenagers aged 12-18 has experienced bullying in the past six months, a recent survey by a local social enterprise suggested on Wednesday.
The findings are based on 604 student responses to a questionnaire collected online or from schools this month. The survey by the Agent of Change Foundation focused on students’ well-being.
More than a third of those who took part said they had been bullied by their peers (35.6 per cent) in the last half-year, followed by about one-fifth who said they had been bullied by their friends, while 12.2 per cent had been bullied by strangers online.
One in four students also experienced cyberbullying in the past six months, which included arguments (26.7 per cent), harassment (25.8 per cent), and spreading rumours (23.2 per cent).
Counselling psychologist Mabel Cheng advised students to “keep calm” and “not overreact” if they experience bullying, because often the bully’s intention is to provoke an emotional response. “Do not fall into the trap,” she said.
Cheng added that students should ask their teachers for help, otherwise the bullying may continue. However, when being targeted by a bully, 40 per cent of students said they would deal with the problem alone, whereas only 29.5 per cent and 12.6 per cent would seek help from their peers and parents, respectively.
Yet about half said they wished their friends would actively step in and help them.
“Teenagers should be proactive in offering help to their bullied friends, and accompany them to seek help [from professionals],” said the founder and chairman of Agent of Change Foundation Wayne Chow.
The report also suggested more than half of the interviewees felt uneasy in schools and public spaces. More than 50 per cent experienced a fairly high level of negative emotions such as sadness (52.3 per cent) and fear (52.5 per cent).