To prevent bullying: Teachers, parents urged to ‘build strong bond’ with their students, children

Published June 26, 2019, 9:49 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Due to rising cases of violence and bullying against minors in the digital platform including social media, an international organization urged teachers and parents to “build strong bond” with their students and children.

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Save the Children Philippines, in a statement, called on parents and teachers to “strengthen” face to face interaction with children and learners to curb online abuse. Citing a report by the Joining Forces – a group composed of ChildFund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children International, SOS Children’s Villages International, Terre des Hommes International Federation, and World Vision International – the group noted that children with disability and teenagers who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) are the “most prone to physical and sexual violence and bullying.”

The report titled: “A Second Revolution: 30 years of child rights, and the unfinished agenda” released recently highlighted the “most urgent, critical and transformative child rights issues.” Generally, the report cited that “children are better off” 30 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of a Child on November 20, 1989. However, it called on governments to “protect children from new risks such as online violence, bullying, and discrimination.”

“Thirty years ago, governments sparked a revolution in how the world views and treats its children,” the report said. “Yet the promise of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was only ever partially realized [and] what is needed now is a second revolution, in which the rights of every child – whoever they are, and wherever they live – are fulfilled,” it added.

Save the Children founder Eglantyne Jebb drafted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child to grow up healthy, educated and protected from all forms of violence. The document became the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and was ratified by United Nations on November 20, 1989.

Important Roles

Meanwhile, Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer (CEO), lawyer Albert Muyot said parents and teachers have “important roles to ensure children are protected from threats of online violence and bullying through open communication and proper guidance.”

“Children need to grow in a nurturing environment with love and acceptance at home and in schools where they spend most of their growing years,” Muyot, who is also a former Undersecretary at the Department of Education (DepEd), said in a statement.

Save the Children Philippines noted that the said report raised “alarming cases of online violence on children due to increase in access to internet” which include “bullying and discrimination, to worst forms of violence such as sexual exploitation, sharing of extreme content, including pornography and violent images.” The report also cited a study of 5,000 children aged 10-12 years old across 15 countries “who feel unsafe on the internet and social networks, and want to play an active role in violence prevention.”

In the Philippines, Save the Children Philippines noted that “close to half of the population of children” aged 13-17 experienced cyber violence based on the National Baseline Survey on Violence against Children. “Cases of online violence in the form of verbal abuse and sent sexual messages are higher among boys at 45.3 percent compared with girls at 42.2 percent,” the group cited.

Meanwhile, Save the Children Philippines noted that around “150 million children across the world have disabilities and they are 3.7 times likely to be victims of violence than children without disabilities” and also, “these children with disabilities are 2.9 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence.”

Citing the recent Joining Forces report, Save the Children Philippines noted: “children often describe their fears of speaking up, and victims of violence often receive threats to keep silent and lack knowledge about to whom they can report.”

Related to this, the report noted that “the suicide rate among LGBTQI teenagers is three times higher than heterosexual children as they face violence such as being ostracized and bullied in schools, at home, and in communities.”

The report also cited that some countries impose “corrective” violence including detention but there are not enough support services for LGBTQI children funded by governments. In the Philippines, Muyot said “eight out of ten LGBTQI minors” in the country reported “physical or psychological abuse while more than one third reported that they were sexually violated” according to the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children.

Meanwhile, the said report cited climate change “as the single biggest threat to children” as there are over half a billion children living in areas with extremely high risk of flooding; 115 million are at high or extremely high risk from tropical cyclones, and almost 160 million are exposed to high or extremely high drought severity.

“Climate change arguably poses the single biggest challenge to the achievement of child rights, and threatens to undo much of the hard-won progress of recent decades to improve the lives of children,” said the report. The report also cited global improvements such as “decline in malnutrition of children to 22 percent compared to 40 percent in 1989 and an increase in enrolment to primary school to 90 percent.” However, it estimates that there are still “700 million children who do not have access to health and nutrition care and education.”

Given this, Save the Children continues its works in development and humanitarian contexts with children and partners to help families, communities, and governments identify and use innovations to “ensure all children survive, learn and are protected.”

 
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