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In 2020, 31.1% of deaths of children and adolescents aged 10-19 years were due to suicide, the leading cause of death from external causes. Technology and digitalisation have given way to cyberbullying, a practice that is spreading out of schools and institutes and into homes. There are currently 166 million children and young people worldwide with some form of mental health problem and 117 million suffer from anxiety.

Camouflaged behind the premise “it’s kid’s stuff”, bullying has been, and is, part of many people’s childhood and adolescence. Glasses, orthodontics, ears, nose, hair colour, a more reserved personality… There are countless reasons that a bully can use to make a child a victim of bullying repeatedly and over time.

There are all kinds: physical, psychological, face-to-face and, now, more digital than ever. Technology and digitalisation have given way to cyberbullying, a practice that leaves schools and institutes and settles in homes. Bullying has gone from classrooms and playgrounds to a constant that can last 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A few weeks ago, the news of a 12-year-old American boy who decided to take his own life after being bullied shocked the world and revolutionised social networks. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. According to the INE, in 2020, 31.1% of deaths of minors and adolescents between 10 and 19 years of age were due to suicide, a year in which it will become the leading cause of death from external causes.

Bullying and cyberbullying are among the most important risk factors for suicidal behaviour, according to Save the Children, and increase the likelihood of suicide among minors by 2.55 times. The damage that bullying can cause is innumerable and often irreversible. For this reason, the fight against bullying must be a priority in schools, a challenge for which both parents and teachers seem to be unprepared.

7 behaviours to detect bullying

Faced with this reality, and with the firm intention of improving the quality of children’s digital lives, Qustodio – the leading platform in online safety and digital well-being for families – has drawn up a list of 7 symptoms or behaviours that may indicate that a child is being bullied: not wanting to go to school; changes in behaviour in the use of technology; frustration, anger or irritability after going online; changes in eating habits; becoming more reserved; self-esteem problems.

If you need help, 024 is the free suicide hotline.