Cyberbullying more rampant among Indian students than those in Europe – study

(File) A staggering 77% of school children in India reported being a victim of online or offline bullying, compared to 50% in the UK and 65% in France. Source: CRS PHOTO / Shutterstock.com

Indian school students face more online and offline bullying compared to their peers in some Western countries, a recent study has revealed.

The findings of the study conducted by Punjabi University, Patiala, comes amid rising concerns among Indian parents of reported deaths of at least three teenagers who took on the deadly “Blue Whale” online challenge in recent months.

Dr Damanjit Sandhu, the associate professor in the university’s department of psychology, said a staggering 77 percent of school children in India reported being a victim of online or offline bullying, compared to 50 percent in the UK and 65 percent in France.

While bullying was found to be most prevalent in India, other countries like the Netherlands and Germany fared better at 11 percent and 16.5 percent, respectively. However, one in every four students in Australia and approximately 32 percent of school children in Thailand faced some kind of bullying.

According to the Economic Times, the revelation is part of a soon-to-be-released publication entitled “Bullying, cyberbullying and pupil well-being in schools: Comparing European, Australian and Indian Perspectives”, by Cambridge University Press.

The study, which saw data collected from over 2,000 pupils in India and other countries is also touted as India’s first multilateral social science research collaboration.

Sandhu said the study, which involved researchers from eight countries, also revealed that more than half of the 53 percent of students surveyed in Patiala and Annamalai (Tamil Nadu) have experienced some form of cyberbullying.

Typically, Indian schools have an average of 50-60 students in one class and boys and girls are mostly segregated in classrooms.

In 2012, the Microsoft Corporation did a study covering 25 different countries and found India having the third highest cyberbullying rate as 53 percent of respondents aged eight to 17 saying they had been victims of online bullying.

Another survey done by McAfee in 2014 found 50 percent of Indian youth having some experience with cyberbullying as witnesses or victims, while 36 percent said they had been directly cyberbullied.

A report by the Indian Express on Saturday said Blue Whale, the notorious and deadly online game, allegedly pushed three teenagers into committing suicide in India while two were rescued before they could take the extreme step.

The game has apparently claimed the lives of over 130 people, mostly children and teenagers across Russia and central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Believed to have originated in Russia, the 50-day challenge involves participants taking on gradually dangerous tasks and the last step involved them taking their own lives.

In wake of the cases, the Indian government asked Internet giants Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo! to erase its links to the game.

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