International day against violence and bullying at school including cyberbullying

5 November will mark new International Day against Bullying and Cyberbullying

5 November 2020 will mark the first-ever celebration of the new International Day against Violence and Bullying at School including Cyberbullying, under the theme “Together against Bullying in school”.

The decision to mark this new International Day every year on the first Thursday of November was made by UNESCO Member States in 2019, recognizing that bullying in schools and cyberbullying is an infringement of children and adolescents’ rights to education and to health and well-being.

On November 5, UNESCO and the French Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports are holding an International conference on school bullying. The online conference aims to build global momentum to end bullying in schools by raising awareness of the issue, sharing what works to address it, and mobilizing governments, experts and the educational community.

Bullying and cyberbullying across the world

According the UNESCO’s recent report Behind the numbers: ending school violence and bullying more than 30% of the world’s students have been victims of bullying. One in ten students has been cyberbullied, and this form of bullying is on the rise. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,  the cases of cyberbullying experience by both students and teachers are on raise.

The consequences are serious: students who are frequently bullied are nearly three times more likely to feel like an outsider at school and more than twice as likely to miss school as those who are not frequently bullied. They have worse educational outcomes and are also more likely to leave formal education after finishing secondary school. They are twice as likely to feel lonely, to be unable to sleep at night and to have contemplated suicide.

Physical appearance is the top reason for bullying, followed by ethnicity, nationality and skin color. Students who are seen as ‘different’ in any way are more at risk of bullying, such as girls perceived to look or act like boys, or boys perceived to look or act like girls.

UNESCO calls on all countries to come together to stop violence in schools and cyberbullying

Too many people think bullying at school including cyberbullying is an inevitable rite of passage to adulthood and that is relatively harmless and one can do little to stop it. Instead, there is strong evidence that violence and bullying at school including cyberbullying can be prevented, and effectively addressed if it happens.

No student should live in fear of going to school. On this new International Day against violence and bullying at school, including cyberbullying, UNESCO calls on all countries, organizations and people to come together with the common purpose of ensuring schools are free from fear and violence and children and adolescents are protected from cyberbullying.

To learn more about UNESCO work on prevention of and response to violence and bullying at school and cyberbullying see the official webpage of the International Day and a relevant section at UNESCO IITE website.