37% of children aged nine ‘bullied’, conference told

Dr Michal Molcho of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway said that while in general more boys than girls were bullied, girls were more likely to be victims of cyber bullying. 
 Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Dr Michal Molcho of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway said that while in general more boys than girls were bullied, girls were more likely to be victims of cyber bullying. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

 


Some 37 per cent of nine-year-old children in Ireland report being bullied, a conference in Dublin heard yesterday.

The findings were presented at Bullying in Children and their Health, an event organised by the Economic and Social Research Institute and Growing up in Ireland, the National Longitudinal Study of Children.

Dr Michal Molcho of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway said that while in general more boys than girls were bullied, girls were more likely to be victims of cyberbullying.

Referring to findings from the 43-country Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children study, Dr Molcho said children’s increasing exposure to new media meant that cyberbullying was “probably not going to disappear”.

With its effects extending beyond school hours, she said cyberbullying meant there was “no safe place, no safe haven” for children. She said the effects of such bullying were more instant and of a much wider scope than traditional bullying.

Of uploaded comments and images of video, she said: “Once if someone laughed at you, it was confined to your class or cafeteria. Now it could be hundreds or thousands of people.”

She said that those “sharing” or “liking” comments bullying comments of photos often did not perceive they were participating in the bullying.

Dr Molcho said while cyberbullying was “vicious”, it was not overtaking traditional bullying in terms of prevalence.

She said in Ireland, migrant children and children from the Traveller community, particularly girls, were more likely to be bullied.

Addressing the conference, professor of general practice at Trinity College Tom O’Dowd said that while 40 per cent of nine-year-old boys reported being bullied in the past year, just 23 per cent of their primary care givers knew about it.

Citing research from the Growing Up in Ireland study, Prof O’Dowd said verbal and physical bullying were the most common forms of bullying suffered by boys while verbal bullying and being excluded were the most common forms among girls. Cyberbullying was the least common form of bullying.