NZ second-worst for schoolyard bullying - OECD report

A new report into education shows New Zealand students have the second-highest rate of bullying in the OECD.

The Pisa study shows more than a quarter of Kiwi students over the age of 15 report being bullied often every month.

Only Latvia ranked higher.

The report also shows our teens are the most likely to be verbally abused with more than 17 percent saying other students make fun of them.

There's little surprise over the result, with Auckland University's associate professor, adolescent health researcher and paediatrician Dr Simon Denny says it's an issue that's deeply ingrained in our schooling system.

Dr Denny, who was the principal investigator of Youth '07 - New Zealand's second National Youth Health and Wellbeing survey - says the result more or less reflects their figures.

"The most recent data suggests about 6 percent of young people are bullied weekly or more often, so if you're talking about multiple times over the past month, that's probably about in keeping with the data we have."

He says the rate is high, and their own surveys over the past 10 to 15 years haven't shown a major reduction in bullying rates.

"We know the consequences of bullying are important. Young people who are bullied have behavioural and emotional health problems from that experience that travel with them so it's an issue we need to address," he told Newshub.

Dr Denny says more New Zealand data is needed to help cut bullying rates in schools and across the country.

"We've got a long way to go if we're going to make a true impact on the rates of bullying in New Zealand," he says.

One of the most effective ways to change behaviour in schools, he says, is not to just focus on the child who is being bullied and their tormentor.

"What we know now is some of the most effective ways of preventing bullying and doing something about it is to think of the whole group of young people in the school and using students to stop the bullying they see around them."

He says pupils and students also learn behaviour from people outside of the school environment.

"We need to think about what kinds of messages, what sort of role models, what sort of values do we want people to have."

Comedian and mental health campaigner Mike King says the result isn't surprising considering children pick up behaviours from others.

"Kids learn by what they see, not by what they're told," he told the AM Show on Thursday.

"My generation is the most judgemental generation of people in the history of the world. We're constantly criticising, we're constantly bullying other people's decisions."

Mr King was on the show to talk about a new mental health report which found 95 percent of respondents had negative experiences with the system.

"Why is it any surprise when our kids are doing this [bullying]?

"[It's] why we need societal and attitudinal change, which is why our report recommended more education around the judgemental behaviour around fellow New Zealanders."

The OECD report says bullying is a major issue around the world, with a large proportion of students reporting being on the receiving end.

On average, 4 percent of students - around one per class  reported being hit or pushed at least a few times a month.

That rate varies between 1 percent and 9.5 percent across OECD countries.

But the survey isn't all bad news.

Most 15-year-old students are happy with their lives reporting a 7.3 out of 10 on a scale of life satisfaction.

Newshub.

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