Bullying Is the #1 concern for children in Malaysia - Unicef

Children in Malaysia feel their opinion is most appreciated by family (92%), friends (88%) and teachers (76%), which is similar to the trends in the UK or in the USA. Children in Malaysia feel their opinion is most appreciated by family (92%), friends (88%) and teachers (76%), which is similar to the trends in the UK or in the USA.

Almost seven out of 10 children in Malaysia worry a lot about bullying, compared to only three out of 10 in Japan or close to four in 10 in the United Kingdom (UK), that is the finding reveals from a new global survey issued by UNICEF recently on #WorldChildrensDay.

Children in Malaysia also worry a lot about other global issues, such as violence against children (64%) and terrorism (60%); while their top picks for world leaders to focus attention on are education for the poor (17%), poverty and terrorism (15%).

The comparative survey involved 11,000 boys and girls between nine and 18 years old in 14 countries from all regions across the world, including Brazil, Egypt, India, Turkey and the USA. The global UNICEF survey echoes findings from the Children4Change opinion conducted locally in Malaysia earlier in terms of children’s concerns and priorities.

UNICEF’s Children4Change Survey involved over 1,000 children aged 6-17 polled both online and offline. The poll found three out of four children wanted to end bullying and other forms of violence against children.

“The survey clearly demonstrates that children in Malaysia take an interest in global issues and are concerned about their impact on their lives and that of their peers. They also have opinions about issues affecting them closer to home. The comparative findings of the global survey highlight issues of particular concern to Malaysian children compared to others, bullying for example, and this should be taken seriously and addressed,” said Marianne Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia.

“Unfortunately, over half feel that even when asked their opinion, they are not really listened to, or that their voice does not influence change. As adults we should listen, we should consult children in issues that affect them and take their opinion into account.”

“When children and adolescents are engaged and encouraged to participate, it builds confidence, global citizenship and helps build democratic and peaceful societies. So, on this World Children’s Day - when children speak up, listen up,” says Clark-Hattingh.

Other key findings from UNICEF’s Global Survey in Malaysia include:-

Issues and Concerns

Over three-quarters of children in Malaysia (77%) are worried about being bullied, and being affected by threats such as climate change (77%), poverty (74%), education access (74%) and terrorism (74%).

More than half the children polled in Malaysia (53%) do not really trust adults and world leaders in making decisions on their behalf, compared to 68 percent in the UK, 59 percent in the USA and 81 percent in Brazil.

Right to be Heard

Children in Malaysia feel their opinion is most appreciated by family (92%), friends (88%) and teachers (76%), which is similar to the trends in the UK or in the USA.

More than half the children in Malaysia (54%) feel their voice is not heard at all or does not help bring about change, compared to 51 percent in Japan, 61 percent in the USA, and 71 percent in the UK. The only exception is India at 40 percent.

A clear majority of children in Malaysia (95%) believe that the world would be a better place for children if their leaders would listen to the voice of children. This percentage is higher than in any other countries involve in the surveyed (89% in the USA; 85% in the UK; 77% in Japan), except South Africa (97%).

Interests, Hobbies, Media Consumption

Barack Obama is the number one choice Malaysian children would invite to their birthday, followed by Tun Mahathir Mohamed. Cristiano Ronaldo, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Siti Nurhaliza, and Jack Ma who all fall jointly in third place.

Watching TV is the top favorite pastime for children in Malaysia (65%), similarly to Brazil (67%), India (68%), Japan (58%), UK (59%) and USA (54%). Children in Malaysia also spend equal time on social media (59%) as doing their homework (59%).

At 80 percent, smart phone usage is higher amongst Malaysian children than children in USA (74%), UK (73%) or Japan (63%).

World Children’s Day

UNICEF hopes World Children’s Day will inspire governments, businesses and communities across the world to listen to children and incorporate their opinions in decision-making processes that affect them.

World Children’s Day or Universal Children’s Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly as a day of celebration of the state of welfare of children. Officially established on 20 November 1989, Universal Children’s Day marks the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

This World Children’s Day UNICEF aims to empower children to ‘take over’ and come together to speak out on the issues that are most important to them, to shine a light on the most pressing challenges faced by their generation.