Generic photo - cyber bullying
Generic photo - cyber bullying

The bullying stat to shock every parent

MORE Australian schoolkids have been bullied than haven't, shocking new research reveals.

Data to be released today by McCrindle Research shows that 59 per cent of students - 2.3 million children - have suffered.

One in five say it happens to them on a weekly basis.

And 80 per cent of the youngsters say bullying is a problem at their school.

"The prevalence of bullying in Australia is a national crisis," McCrindle social researcher Ashley Fell said.

"With mental wellbeing one of the top challenges facing young people, and with every student having a right to a safe and supportive schooling experience, this research highlights the extent of this national shame."

The findings are being released to coincide with today's National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. More than 5000 schools have registered to be part of it.

"The results are very shocking," Ms Fell said.

"We knew bullying was a serious problem but for three in five students to be experiencing it shows the extent of the issue in our schools."

Verbal abuse was the most common, with half of students experiencing it, followed by physical bullying affecting one in five.

Social media was used to harass 13 per cent and 11 per cent received bullying text messages.

"There are these new challenges today that we did not face a decade ago with digital devices. It means the bullying can extend after school hours into children's home lives, even getting alerts while they are in bed."

Nearly 60 per cent of bullied students said it upsets them a great deal but many suffer in silence.

"The challenge for schools in managing this national crisis is that many incidents are not reported to the school," Ms Fell said.

"One in seven students do not speak to anyone about the bullying they have received."

Of those who do, 27 per cent tell parents and 24 per cent confide in friends.

One in five of the 692 children surveyed admitted they had bullied another person.

But the research also found that addressing the issue can have positive results in changing behaviour.

Of those students who had previously harassed other kids, 77 per cent said they were unlikely to do so again. And 83 per cent of students said they were likely to step in and stop bullying.

Three-quarters said they were confident in handling bullying afterwards - up from 46 per cent.

"It shows that kids can change their behaviour once they see the impacts it can have," Ms Fell said.

Brett Murray is CEO of the Make Bullying History charity.
Brett Murray is CEO of the Make Bullying History charity.

Brett Murray, CEO of Make Bullying History Foundation, said: "I've had countless conversations with young people in the context of the anti-bullying seminars that I run that share the pain that bullying has incurred on their life.

"And unfortunately, this trauma is repeated daily in thousands of young lives across Australia."

The key was empowering them to change the culture in their own schools by being proactive.