With a few days to go before the formal opening of classes, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called for a strong enforcement of anti-cyberbullying measures to combat learners’ increased exposure to harassment and threats amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Part of a safe continuing education in the middle of this pandemic is to stop bullying. While children stay at home, there should be measures to protect them because the possibility of bullying and violence will always be there," said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
He cited the latest National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children which showed that about 43.8 percent of Filipino children aged 13-17 experienced cyber violence.
He said one-third of these were in the form of verbal abuse over the internet or cellphones. One-fourth were in the form of sexual messages, while around 2.5 percent also experienced having their own nude body or sexual activities, both real and falsified, shown online.
Gatchalian also recalled the results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018, which revealed that out of 79 countries, the incidence of bullying is highest in the Philippines with 65 percent of Filipino high school students experiencing bullying “at least a few times a month.”
He said this was way higher the 23 percent average in other countries that participated in the global survey.