Students believe verbal abuse is biggest bullying problem in schools

Students believe verbal abuse is the worst bullying problem within schools- higher than cyber bullying, social or relational bullying and physical bullying.

CensusAtSchool, a national statistics education project for primary and secondary school students has revealed this information. 

Students aged between 9 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13), supervised by teachers, answered 25 questions in English or Te Reo Māori about their lives, then analysed their results in class.

They were then asked how much they agreed or disagreed about each type of bullying. A total of 36% strongly agreed that verbal bullying was a strong problem among students at their school, followed by cyber bullying (31%), social or relational bullying (25%) and physical bullying (19%).

Ōtāhuhu College teacher Anne Patel, also a member of the CensusAtSchool team says “Information about the scale of bullying is hard to get in New Zealand because we don’t have a way of quantifying it on a national level.  But as CensusAtSchool is anonymous and available to students in every school in the country, we are getting a unique student-eye view of its scale and prevalence."

Here are the more in-depth results of each section: 

Verbal bullying

  • Overall, 36% of schoolchildren who took part strongly agreed or agreed that verbal bullying was a problem at their school.  
  • Verbal bullying was more of a problem in high schools (39% of students agreed or strongly agreed) than primary schools (29%).
  • Verbal bullying was more of a problem for girls in co-ed schools (43% strongly agreed or agreed) than girls in single-sex schools (33% strongly agreed or agreed).

Cyberbullying

  • Overall, 31% of students who took part strongly agreed or agreed that cyberbullying was a problem at their school.  
  • Girls were more likely to say cyberbullying was a problem at school (34% strongly agreed or agreed) than boys (26% strongly agreed or agreed).
  • Cyberbullying was more of a problem in high schools. A total of 19% of boys at primary school strongly agreed or agreed that bullying was a problem in their schools, but 31% of boys at high school. A total of 22% of girls at primary school strongly agreed or agreed    that cyber-bullying was a problem in their school, but 40% of girls at high school.
  • For boys, cyber-bullying was more likely to be a problem in co-educational settings: A total of 32% of boys in co-ed schools strongly agreed or agreed that cyber bullying was a problem, against 23% of boys in single-sex schools. However, the picture was quite        different for girls. A total of 40% of girls in co-ed schools strongly agreed or agreed that cyber bullying was a problem in their school, and the corresponding figure for girls in single-sex schools was also 40%.

      Overall, 69% of all students who took part said that cyberbullies were equal numbers of boys and girls.
 

Social/relational bullying

  • Overall, 25% of students who took part strongly agreed or agreed that social/relational bullying was a problem at their school.

Physical bullying

  • Overall, 19% of students who took part said physical bullying was a problem at their school.
  • Physical bullying was more of an issue for boys (22% agreed, strongly agreed) than girls (16%).
  • Physical bullying appeared to be a bigger problem for boys at co-ed schools (24% strongly agreed or agreed) than at single-sex boys’ schools (16%).

However, physical bullying was seen to be bigger problem in the eyes of girls in co-ed schools (17% strongly agreed or agreed that physical bullying was a problem at their school), than those in single-sex schools (9%).

To date, more than 18,392 students from 391 schools from across New Zealand have taken part in CensusAtSchool which started on March 16.