For 85 per cent of Bangladeshi youths online bullying is a severe problem, according to a Grameenphone and Telenor Group survey run in association with Plan International during August-September.
The survey was conducted among youths on how internet use and online bullying trends have changed across Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand, with Covid-19 as the backdrop. Of the 3,930 respondents in the regional survey, 16 per cent respondents were youths from Bangladesh.
Twenty-nine per cent of Bangladesh youths said they were bullied before the pandemic, 18 per cent said they experienced more online bullying since the onset of Covid-19. Eight per cent of youths experienced online bullying at least once a week or more since the pandemic.
The three most common platforms where youths experienced online bullying were social media, messaging apps, and online gaming and video game streaming platforms.
To stop the bullying online, respondents in the four countries said that they took several measures to safeguard themselves, which included ignoring the bully, which resulted in the person stopping, changing security settings online so the person could not contact them, and speaking to a parent or guardian about the problem.
The survey also revealed that 86 per cent of youths surveyed in Bangladesh spent more time on the internet since Covid-19 began. In addition, 35 per cent of youth in Bangladesh said they used the internet all the time, 15 per cent used it mainly in the evenings, and only 2 per cent limited their use to only during school hours.
Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, said: "There is no denying our future generation needs digital skills and are active users of the internet. So, we need to intensify cooperation and commitment with various stakeholders to keep them safe. The survey results set a call to action to focus on this issue collectively."
"With the marked increase in time spent on the internet by youth during the pandemic, there is a clear need to better equip youth with ways and methods to protect themselves online. Awareness, training on online bullying, and digital building resilience are crucial to be a multi-stakeholder exercise. This should not be left just to educational institutions but should also involve parents and caregivers," said Manisha Dogra, VP, Sustainability for Telenor in Asia.