In a recent survey conducted on 11,000 children across the globe, UNICEF found that bullying is a top concern among children in Malaysia, with 67% of those surveyed ranking it as the #1 global issue they worry a lot about
The 1,000 Malaysian children surveyed also ranked global issues such as violence against children (64%) and terrorism (60%) in the top 3 issues they worry a lot about.
Issued by UNICEF in conjunction with #WorldChildrensDay, the comparative survey involved 11,000 boys and girls between 9 and 18 years old from 14 countries - Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United
77% of children in Malaysia are also worried about being bullied by their peers. In addition, they are also worried about being personally affected by climate change, poverty, poor education access, and terrorism.
Bullying and climate change takes the #1 spot in Malaysian children's top 3 issues they are worried being personally affected by, followed by poverty, poor access to education, and terrorism tying for #2 (74%). Poor health comes at a close third at (73%).
With that said, their top picks for world leaders to focus attention and take action on are education for the poor, poverty and terrorism, as well as conflict and wars.
However, it looks like world leaders have a lot to make up for as more than half of the children polled in Malaysia (53%) do not trust adults and politicians to make good decisions on their behalf
While most of these children feel that their opinion is appreciated by family members, friends, and teachers, most than half of those surveyed in Malaysia (54%) feel that their voice is not taken into account nor help to bring about change.
A clear majority of Malaysian children (95%) believe that the world would be a better place if world leaders listened to what children have to say. At 95%, it is the highest out of all the surveyed countries except for South Africa (97%).
On a lighter note, the children were also asked about the one famous person they would invite for their birthday. Clinching the top spot among Malaysian children is former US president Barack Obama, followed by former PM Tun Mahathir Mohamed.
Several celebrities were tied for third place - footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, pop stars Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, Malaysian songbird Siti Nurhaliza, billionaire Jack Ma, and current PM Najib Razak.
A UNICEF representative urged adults to consult and take children's opinion into account when it comes to issues that affect them, as results from the survey show that children in Malaysia are indeed concerned about the impact of global issues on their lives
"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," 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. Although we might think it, we don’t always know what is best for them. 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."