85% of UAE Schoolchildren Are Bullied, New Survey Finds | ExpatWoman.com

New Survey Reveals 85% of Children in UAE Are Bullied Online

Cartoon Network's anti-bullying PSA in the Middle East found shocking results

Posted on

23 October 2019

Last updated on 24 October 2019
New Survey Reveals 85% of Children in UAE Are Bullied Online

With only 50% of parents in the UAE who are aware that their child has been bullied

The Cartoon Network MENA Survey 2019 results were revealed, with research showing that at least 85% of school children in the UAE have been bullied - a majority of the harassment taking place online.

Popular children's channel, Cartoon Network, conducted the survey by asking 700 UAE-based parents of children as well as students between six to 12 years old across all emirates.

The survey found that these days acts of bullying are actually least likely to happen within school walls - most cases of bullying in the UAE are psychological and happen online.

According to the results, verbal and physical bullying counts for 13%. Earlier in 2018, an Abu Dhabi student committed suicide after she was being bullied.

In response, Cartoon Network launched the CN Buddy Network Campaign, aiming to create and promote a positive school culture in the emirates and with the help of child psychologists, school staff, and students, prevent bullying among schoolchildren.

The campaign involves workshops that will run until December, targeting over 1,000 students from at least 50 schools across the country.

CN Buddy Network campaign is part of Cartoon Network’s global Buddy Network – a peer to peer anti-bullying initiative that began in the UK and spread to other parts of Europe. It uses TV content, events, digital, and social outreach to spread the message about protecting kids from bullying and help the bullies from such behaviour.

New Survey Reveals 85% of Children in UAE Are Bullied Online

Photo credit: Cartoon Network Buddy System

Red flags of bullying

UAE-based child psychologist Dr. Haneen Jarrar said that the campaign aims to help bullies as well, as sometimes bullies come from a troubled background, suffered as a victim of bullying themselves, or experience low-esteem.

“I always say kids ask for love in the most unloving ways - it’s always the case. So when a child is aggressive or a bully, this is actually a red flag that there is something going on,” she mentioned.

The CN Buddy Network child psychologists plan to work together with school counselors, wherein if the school staff spot red flags on bullies and victims, they can refer these cases to professional psychiatrists. The first referral would be free of charge and must take place at school.

“From there, if we know that the child needs psycho-educational assessment, or intervention, speech and language therapy, etc, then we will see how that goes forward," Dr. Jarrar added.

She added that many insurance companies now provide cover for such cases, thanks to efforts by UAE education and health authorities to tackle these high statistics.

Anti-bullying school kits will be distributed to students, which features various games and tools to engage them in anti-bullying activities during the workshops.

Anti-bullying song

As part of the campaign, Cartoon Network is also partnering with Sony Music Entertainment Middle East to create an anti-bullying song performed by YouTube star singers; the sisters Rawan and Rayan. The Arabic pop song speaks to children with positive messages around inclusion, and will be aired on TV and available worldwide across all music services.

Darine Al Khatib, Senior Director Creative Strategy and Brand Development at Turner MENA and Turkey, said: “Bullying has become a widespread global concern, with more and more children becoming vulnerable to this behaviour in different ways.

"As 2019 is the ‘Year of Tolerance’ in the UAE, we have decided to launch the Buddy Network campaign for the very first time in the Middle East, starting with the UAE. We hope that this campaign will raise awareness around this sensitive topic through promoting friendship and kindness, and educate children and parents about the effects of bullying," Al Khatib concluded.

Mike Fairburn, General Manager, Sony Music Entertainment Middle East, said, “Music is a universal language, it connects people and builds lasting memories. Cartoon Network shares this vision and we are delighted to be working together with them on this campaign to drive positive change in the UAE.”

New Survey Reveals 85% of Children in UAE Are Bullied Online

Survey results

85 per cent of parents are aware their child is or has been previously bullied.

Most bullying (42 per cent) happens online, followed by outside school (40 per cent) and the least in school (39 per cent).

Common forms

Psychological bullying is most common (15 per cent), followed by verbal bullying and physical bullying (both 13 per cent).

Underlying reasons

Peer pressure is the leading reason (22 to 23 per cent) for bullying, with one in five boys targeted because of their weight and an equal proportion of girls victimised because of an unstable home.

A further 17 to 19% of children are targeted because of their nationality.

Source: Cartoon Network MENA Survey 2019

Effects of bullying on victims

  • Lower grades
  • Absence from school
  • Becoming moody
  • Can’t sleep
  • No appetite
  • Consequences on the bully
  • Shaky family relationship
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling lonely
  • Misbehaviour in adulthood

For more information and advice for parents or children to counter bullying, visit the CN Buddy Network's offical website here: https://beabuddy.cartoonnetworkmena.com/