As part of the Cartoon Network’s EMEA-wide anti-bullying initiative, Cartoon Network Middle East reported an increase in cyberbullying amongst children during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings were based on a study which surveyed over 2,000 parents in the Middle East with kids aged 6-12 years.
The research further revealed that 40 per cent of parents in the UAE and 48 per cent in the KSA believe their children have been bullied online during the pandemic. Nearly a quarter of these incidents were reported directly by the children to their parents. Verbal bullying was found to be the most common form of bullying in schools, with 36 per cent of parents in the UAE and 32 per cent in the KSA saying that their child had at some point been impacted. Furthermore, 17 per cent of respondents in the KSA said that their kids were subject to racist bullying.
Mohamed Sheiha, Head of Marketing, Digital & Communications, WarnerMedia MENAT, said: “It is clear from our survey results that bullying is on the rise in the UAE and the KSA. Bullying in childhood is a major public health problem and through our CN Buddy Network campaign, we want to further raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying – both in person and online – and educate parents and children to mitigate this.”
Other notable research findings include:
- Social networking sites are contributing to the issue of cyberbullying with kids increasingly using platforms to spread rumours or to repeatedly tease or make fun of someone online.
- Jibes about weight, poor social skills and nationality emerged as the main causes of online bullying in the UAE, with poor social skills coming out on top in the KSA.
- A major deterrent in reporting cases of bullying – particularly for students in the UAE – was a feeling of shame, followed by the fear of retaliation from the bullies.
Cartoon Network Middle East launched CN Buddy Network in the UAE in 2019, encouraging children aged 5 to 12 years to ‘Be a Buddy, Not a Bully.’ It aims to educate children and parents about the effects of bullying and provide practical ways to counter it.