Online bullying remains prevalent in the Philippines, other countries

Cyberviolence affects almost half of Filipino children aged 13-17

06 September 2019
A girl wearing a school uniform, her face not visible, uses a smartphone
On 11 March 2016, a girl at St. Francis of Assisi School checks her smart phone after classes in the Central Visayas city of Cebu, Philippines. Social media is a huge influence in children’s lives and being constantly connected to the Internet also comes with many risks, including online sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

MANILA, 6 September 2019⁠—One in three young people in 30 countries said they have been a victim of online bullying, with one in five saying they skipped school due to cyberbullying and violence, according to a new poll released today by UNICEF, the United Nations organization working for children’s rights.

In the Philippines, latest national data show that cyberviolence affects almost half of children aged 13-171. The prevalence of cyberviolence for males (44 per cent) is almost the same for females (43 per cent).

One-third of cyberviolence experienced by Filipino children are in the form of verbal abuse over the internet or cellphone, while a fourth are through sexual messages. More females received messages of sexual nature or content than males. However, twice as many males than females reported having their nude body or sexual activities, whether real or falsified, shown on the internet or cellphone.

Violence against children, in all forms including online bullying or cyberbullying, has devastating effects on the physical and emotional wellbeing of young people. This can create lasting emotional and psychological scars, even physical harm. It is particularly challenging to address since children are vulnerable and have easy access to the internet, making them easy targets of online violence.

In the UNICEF U-Report poll conducted in June 2019, almost three-quarters of young people from 30 countries said that social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are the most common platforms for online bullying. Being connected online means that school no longer ends once a student leaves class, and neither does bullying.

The U-Report further revealed that 32 per cent believe that the government is mainly responsible in addressing online bullying, 31 per cent said that young people are responsible, while 29 per cent said internet companies. These show that opinions are equally divided on who should be responsible for ending online bullying – highlighting the need to involve children and young people in the shared responsibility.

UNICEF is calling for urgent action to implement policies that will protect children and young people from bullying – both online and offline. Addressing the problem requires action from all of us.

Establishing and equipping national helplines to support children and young people in reporting violence is a concrete step. Training teachers and parents to respond to and prevent bullying will ensure the safety of children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable ones.

Gathering better data about the online behavior of children and young people, and how criminals are using the internet, will guide policies and action plans.

UNICEF is also urging social media and social networking service companies to improve ethical standards and practices in collecting and managing information of children. 

National Baseline Survey on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC), 2016

Media contacts

Jacques Gimeno
Reports Officer
UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 920 222 7120
Maria Mutya Frio
Communication Officer
UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 919 387 8791

About U-Report

U-Report is a free social messaging tool that allows anyone from anywhere in the world to speak out on the issues they care about. UNICEF and partners developed the platform to capture a range of voices on critical development issues. U-Report encourages citizen-led development, facilitates responses to humanitarian emergencies and magnifies local voices globally to create positive change.             

Adolescent and young people can join the platform by SMS or on social media (Facebook, Whatsapp or Viber) allowing them to respond to polls, report concerns, support child rights and work to improve their communities. Currently, there are more than 7 million U-Reporters are present in over 60 countries.

This poll was made possible by the many thousands of children and young people around the world who actively engaged with UNICEF as U-Reporters and participated in the poll. The poll was conducted in June 2019 and answered by more than 170,000 respondents in 30 countries. The poll results represent the information shared by the poll’s respondents.

For more information, visit

For more information about U-Report in the Philippines, visit



UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in the Philippines, visit

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