Many children and young people worldwide encounter school violence, bullying, and maybe cyberbullying, which, as a result, can affect their mental health and their education.
In response to this phenomenon, UNESCO Member States established the first Thursday of November, the International Day against violence and bullying at school, including cyberbullying. This day serves as a recognition that any form of violence within an educational setting is an infringement of children's and adolescent’s rights to education, their health and well-being.
No place for fear: ending school violence and promoting mental health
This year’s theme highlights the strong interconnection between violence at school and the mental well-being of students. It serves as a reminder that the school environment should foster spaces where young learners can thrive without fear.
The growing global concern revolves around the mental health and well-being of young learners, especially after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While schools are supposed to be supportive and safe for children and young people, evidence shows that many educational institutions report issues of violence and bullying, casting a shadow over the learning environment.
The strong connection between mental health and violence in school is alarming. Experiences such as violence, bullying, and discrimination at school can contribute to poor mental health and hinder learning. Conversely, a sense of safety in schools can improve mental health and academic performance. It is imperative to end violence and promote good mental health in school to ensure that young people thrive in a secure and supportive environment.
Better Internet for Kids for the International Day against violence and bullying at school, including cyberbullying
Here on the Better Internet for Kids portal, creating safe environments in schools, both offline and online, is paramount. We recognise that cyberbullying has a detrimental impact on the mental well-being of young people. That is why we are committed to safeguarding and enhancing the online experience of children and young people. Learn more about our work and initiatives on cyberbullying and online violence:
- The BEE SECURE initiative ran the #NOHATEONLINE campaign to raise awareness during the 2022-2023 school year and contribute to the fight against hate speech.
- Our network of Safer Internet Centres and helplines provides information, advice and assistance to children, youth and parents on how to deal with harmful conduct such as cyberbullying. Helplines can increasingly be accessed via various means - telephone, email, web forms, Skype, and online chat services. To find contact details for your national helpline, check out the Safer Internet Centre profile page.
- The Better Internet for Kids (BIK+) strategy, adopted in May last year, also focuses on ensuring children have safe digital experiences. The new strategy also mentions the need to support those affected by cyberbullying, with the help of trained staff, through the number 116 111. Learn more about the BIK+ strategy.
Learn more about the International Day against violence and bullying at school, including cyberbullying, on the website of UNESCO.