October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

by Colm Canning

Bullying Among Children in Ireland

Tackling Bullying from the Inside Out: Shifting Paradigms in Bullying Research and Intervention reported that 26% of primary school children and 12% of post-primary school children had been bullied in Ireland, while 14% of primary and 10% of post-primary students had been bullied online in Ireland.

KiDiCoTi: Kids’ Digital Lives in Covid-19 Times: A Comparative Mixed Methods Study on Digital Practices, Safety and Wellbeing reported that during the lockdown in Ireland it found 28% of 10-18-year old children in the sample reported to have been victims of cyberbullying during lockdown; while 50% reported having seen others being cyberbullied. The younger in age they were, the more likely they were to have been victims of cyberbullying. Overall, 49% of males experienced significantly more frequent cyberbullying since lockdown.

National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month is here to educate and raise awareness about bullying and cyberbullying prevention. Tackling bullying is something that everyone can address and prevent, so let’s tackle this together and not just for this month, but every day!

Schools and Bullying

Schools should be places that foster safe, supportive learning environments in which their classrooms have a culture of respect, inclusiveness, positivity and no tolerance for bullying. They should also look to reward and acknowledge students for positive social behaviour. It is important that schools communicate their bullying policies in their school to staff, teachers, students and parents, and to abide by these. Supervising areas that school bullying is known to occur can help in the prevention of bullying.

Talk About Bullying

Parents, teachers, caregivers, tutors and trusted adults should talk with children about their school life and social media, and the various roles children can play in bullying. Asking open-ended questions can be used with no judgement, so they can talk about their experiences and then convey the expectations around appropriate behaviour, both offline and online. While parents are the primary role models for their children, they will provide a model in the way they expect their child to behave, and this will be taught through actions. Young people can also find positive role models in mentors and other trusted adults. Modelling respect, kindness and inclusivity while providing support to children, and can help make sure that bullying doesn’t continue and try to minimise its effects.

Get Help

Children and Youths who experience bullying should always reach out to a trusted adult to talk about it and to get support. In the case of cyberbullying, take screenshots and block the people who are bullying.

If they witness bullying, they shouldn’t allow it and stop it if they feel that they can, by standing up for the person being bullied, on your own or with friends. However, if you do not feel safe doing that, reach out to the person being bullied to tell them that you don’t agree with it, and help them by telling a trusted adult.

If youths and children witness cyberbullying, they shouldn’t take part in it, but should report it. Youths and children should learn about the role the bystander plays, and that bystanders are essential in the prevention of bullying.  They can always talk to a trusted adult for advice.

Colm Canning

Education Project Coordinator National Anti-Bullying Centre Dublin City University

Additional Support

·          https://spunout.ie/ ·          https://www.ispcc.ie/childline/
·          https://tacklebullying.ie/ ·          https://www.pieta.ie/
·          https://au.reachout.com/ ·          https://www.belongto.org/

 

References

Milosevic, T., Laffan, D., & O’Higgins-Norman, J. (2020). KiDiCoTi: Kids’ Digital Lives in Covid-19 Times: A Comparative Mixed Methods Study on Digital Practices, Safety and Wellbeing: Key Findings From Ireland

Norman, J. O. H. (2020). Tackling bullying from the inside out: shifting paradigms in bullying research and interventions. International Journal of Bullying Prevention2(3), 161-169.

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