Facebook and Instagram are the most common platforms for bullying young people, a poll conducted by some 9,500 National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers from 24 universities and educational institutions in Assam has revealed.
The poll facilitated by the UNICEF to support the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) also recorded that 95% of the youth in the State face mental health issues owing to corporal punishment.
The U-Report poll, launched on July 18 for the ASCPCR’s Suraksha campaign, was aimed at raising public awareness on the forms of violence among children, and redressal mechanisms. Most of the NSS volunteers who participated in the poll said they were aware of issues such as cyberbullying and corporal punishment.
An analysis of the poll showed 35% of young people experienced corporal punishment at home, 25% in school, and 14% in other spaces such as private coaching centres and on sports grounds. About 26% experienced it in all the three settings.
The most common form of punishment was being hit or slapped on the limbs (67%) followed by yelling or verbal abuse (16%). Close to 60% of the young people who went through corporal punishment said that it impacted their social relationships — it led to stress, anxiety and fear for 24% while 17% reported physical injury, the poll report said.
Half of the young people reported being bullied online by an unknown person, 12% were bullied by a classmate, and 14% by a friend.
With 36% cases, Facebook emerged as the most common platform for being bullied followed by Instagram with 25%. The most common form of bullying was spreading of lies, embarrassing photos or videos on social media (35%).
Physical appearance was the most common reason for being bullied online, the report said.
“Given the Assam Government’s impetus on creating a conducive environment for young people to grow and thrive, UNICEF has been working with young people in Assam, especially those from the most vulnerable communities,” Madhulika Jonathan, chief of UNICEF Assam, said.
The survey was the outcome of a collaboration between UNICEF Assam and the Directorate of NSS for the northeast region to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the young during 2020-2021.
Currently, 19% of Assam’s 3.1 crore population (Census 2011) is in the 15-24 years age group.