IF there’s one thing the new generation is known for, it’s being inclusive of everyone. They pride themselves in creating safe spaces for all, especially for those who may be considered minorities – the LGBTQ+ community, for example.
Shockingly enough, this has done little to quell the bullying that continues to plague several schools in the Philippines.
According to the 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA,) one in three Filipino students are bullied in their schools at least once a week. For this study, 7,193 students from 188 schools were asked to participate.
This study listed a number of ways in which the students were bullied, such as being made fun of, being threatened, and being left out of certain activities on purpose. Others experienced rumors being made up about them or even had their items destroyed by other students.
PISA estimates that over 17.5 million students have experienced bullying in the country.
Most common ways of bullying
According to the Systemic Literature Review of the Drivers of Violence Against Children, members of the LGBTQ+ community and those with disabilities are often the targets of bullying.
Most commonly noted methods of bullying are the following:
- Physical abuse: Any form of abuse that involves physically hurting the victim, including kicking, punching, pushing, hair-pulling, slapping, and the like.
- Verbal abuse: Any form of abuse wherein the victim is talked to in a derogatory manner, such as being insulted, called names, teased, taunted, or made fun of. This is one of the most common forms of bullying in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Relational bullying: A form of bullying wherein the victim is purposefully left out of events and gatherings, or wherein they are ignored by their peers, all as a form of “social seclusion.”
- Cyberbullying: A newer form of bullying, as well as one of the most dangerous. It involves any abuse that is done with the use of technology or social media, such as using an anonymous account to spread rumors about the victim or using it to insult people online.
With how popular social media has become, it is not surprising that so many people have started to use it for an act such as bullying, especially because it has one thing going for it that other forms of bullying do not: anonymity.
Nowadays, creating a fake identity for yourself can be done with just a few clicks. Even if your victim were to block you or report your account, making another one would be just as easy.
The growth of the problem of bullying in the country is extremely worrying, especially since the Department of Education reported that within the Academic Year of 2021 to 2022, an estimated 404 students committed suicide, while another 2, 147 attempted to kill themselves, with bullying being one of the reasons behind this.
See something, say something
Aside from being an institution for education, schools are also expected to take care of the students within their walls, keeping them safe from anything bad that may happen to them, especially bullying.
What’s even more worrying is the fact that there have not only been reports of students bullying other students, but teachers bullying students as well. Just last year, for example, a teacher was brought to court after allegedly bullying a 5th-grade student in a school in Camarines Norte.
This happened after a video was posted about the teacher yelling derogatory words at the student. Following its posting, the video then went viral.
Not every student, however, has the opportunity to record the abuses done to them, nor does every video calling to end bullying get as much traction as it did this one.
No matter the perpetrator or the severity of the crime, any case of bullying should be treated with the utmost care and importance. Though there have been laws passed to get rid of bullying in the Philippines, such as the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, it’s obvious that they have done little to actually solve the problem.
This may be because schools have become too lax in handling or looking for cases of bullying, or because perpetrators now have a plethora of platforms, whether it be face-to-face or online.
Any time you see something – in your classroom, on the street, on your TikTok FYP – that you consider being bullying, say something. Do anything that you can.
Report the post. Ask the victim if they’re okay, or if they need help.
Make sure that they’re telling the truth if they say that they don’t need it.
Most importantly: don’t just be a bystander.
So many victims of bullying – or even those who witness bullying – choose to stay silent, often because they are scared of doing so, or they feel that they can handle the situation by themselves.
They feel that they have to stay silent. You don’t.
If you see something wrong, approach anyone who may be able to help. As cheesy as it may say, it may just save someone’s life.