‘Half of bullying victims don’t seek help’
Published : Jan 17, 2012 - 16:10
Updated : Jan 17, 2012 - 19:27
Primary school students believe reports make their problems worse

One out of four of Seoul’s fourth through sixth graders in elementary school has experienced bullying, but half of the victims haven’t sought help, a children’s organization poll showed Tuesday.

ChildFund, an international child sponsorship group, found that 25 percent of elementary school students in Seoul between the fourth and sixth grades have encountered bullying in school. The poll of 1,377 fourth through sixth graders from September to December showed that about half, or 47 percent, of the victims did not seek help from adults.

About 20 percent of respondents who had been bullied said they have been taunted, pushed, hit or insulted, while 9 percent have suffered because of unpleasant sexual jokes or behavior, and 5 percent have had money or possessions taken.

Of the victims, 42 percent said they have been bullied frequently, while those who said they have never been bullied remained at 10 percent while those who rarely experience it amounted to 24 percent.

The places where bullying incidents take place the most frequently are streets that students use when walking to and from school and remote areas at 19 percent. About 18 percent takes place inside the classroom, while 15 percent of bullying happens in school hallways.

Twenty-eight percent of students who didn’t report bullying or seek help believed it would only make things worse.

The other reasons were: believing it wouldn’t helpful (19 percent), feeling the bullying wasn’t a big deal (16 percent) and fear of retaliation (11 percent).

None of the bullying victims requested help from professional counselors, according to the poll.

“We have observed that anti-bullying education at elementary schools is done with temporary lectures due to a tight budget and highly competitive school curriculum. The poll shows that schools and local communities should try harder to facilitate preventive education at the elementary school level in order to stop further violence at middle schools,” said an official from ChildFund Korea.

Experts have noted that the age at which students are exposed to school bullying is getting younger ― now down to elementary schools. But they have pointed out that these schools do not have teachers exclusively in charge of counseling.

“It will be too late if we drag our feet in resolving violent bullying incidents. Therefore we need to implement preventive education for both students and parents immediately at elementary schools,” said Woo Jee-hyang, a counselor at Seoul Culture High School.

By Lee Woo-young (