70pc encounter school bullying, survey finds

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 November, 2007, 12:00am

Schools have been urged to step up anti-bullying measures after a survey found that 70 per cent of primary and secondary school students had encountered bullying.

The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention surveyed more than 6,600 students between Primary Three and Secondary Three from 72 schools between January and September this year.

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents said they had encountered bullying, of which 10 per cent said such incidents happened at least once a week on average.

Nearly 60 per cent of the bullying involved physical violence while 71 per cent involved verbal threats and teasing. Twenty-three per cent involved social isolation and 15 per cent were related to internet bullying.

Asked what role the students thought they might play if bullying occurred, about 20 per cent said they would probably be the victims while 10 per cent said they would be the bullies.

About 25 per cent said they would be bystanders while the remainder were unsure. The society estimated that the unsure ones would probably be bystanders as well.

'We are quite worried about the large number of students tending to be bystanders,' society research and development officer Ivy Chow Pui-sze said. 'They might underestimate the seriousness of bullying and think it is a game only. They do not know how to seek proper help or stop the event. Worse still, they might turn into bullies themselves one day.'

In the survey, about one-third of the students thought bullying was inevitable and another one-third thought people who interfered risked their own safety.

Secondary school students tended to seek help from friends when they were bullied, while primary school students tended to seek help from parents.

'The survey has shown that bullying is common among youngsters, but many relate to it incorrectly,' society planning and development business director Anthea Lee Shuk-wai said. 'Schools should offer more life education to students. We encourage bystanders to try and stop bullies. Otherwise, they, and also victims, should report to their teachers and parents.' Parents and teachers should talk more with children about their school life, and police should strengthen crime prevention measures on campus, she said.