Matoneo (Photo: Julian Castro)

A study published Friday by a nationally based NGO reported that three in every five bullied adolescents in Colombia consider ending their own lives.

The study, carried out by Children’s Villages Foundation SOS, went on to claim that, of those who contemplate suicide, one-third will eventually attempt it.

According to the NGO, 35% of all individuals surveyed — the study sampled teens between the ages of 12 and 18 — acknowledged they had been victims of bullying at some point in the past, with 22% claiming to have bullied a peer. Assuming that these percentages do not overlap, or at least do not overlap significantly, the NGO believes that the study “evidences that more than 50% of boys, girls, and Colombian adolescents can see themselves involved [in bullying] as victims or victimizers.”

In total, 6.9% of all Colombian adolescents ages 12-18 have contemplated suicide.

In 2011, with the support of President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s Congress passed the “National System of Coexistence” law, designed to push schools to play a greater role in monitoring what was perceived at the time as a growing bullying problem.

MORE: Colombia enacts anti-bullying law

A rise in cyberbullying, through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, is one a number of potential factors cited by the study as possibly contributing to the high observed levels of children who have contemplated suicide.

The NGO goes on to stress the importance of working with the victimizers as well as the victims because the child’s violent demeanor towards others may be a direct result of parental factors or a hostile living environment.

Positive interaction and effective communication with parental figures, teachers and other adult role models,for both perpetrators and victims of bullying, is crucial in combatting the problem, according to the study.


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