Awareness is key: United Against Bullying

Awareness is key: United Against Bullying.

19-11-2020Julie Holdsworth

Anti Bullying Week shines a spotlight on bullying and encourages all children, teachers and parents to take action against bullying throughout the year.

The theme for Anti-Bullying Week 2020 is: United Against Bullying. Anti-Bullying week will happen from Monday 16th - Friday 20th November and will start with Odd Socks Day to mark the first day of Anti-Bullying Week. Last year 75% of schools in the country took part, reaching well over 7 million young people.

Small change. Big difference.
As you know the effects of bullying can have a massive impact on all individuals, whether that is at school, work, college or socially. It can be verbal, physical, online or in-person, however it is delivered bullying has a significant impact on a child’s life well in to adulthood.

By making small, simple changes, we can break this cycle and create a safe environment for everyone. Because together, we can challenge bullying. Change starts with a conversation. It starts with checking in. It starts with work together.

Anti bullying week is a great way to get involved, take a stand against bullying and raise awareness in your school, college or organisation.Bullying doesn’t just affect children but adults too.

Research shows that more than half of people under 25 will, at some point, experience bullying. As a result, 1 in 3 will self-harm, grades will drop and 37% will experience social anxiety and depression. Bullying is a national emergency and continues to undermine the self-esteem, health and potential of millions in the UK.

The Anti Bullying Alliance are using Anti-Bullying Week to encourage people to speak up about bullying. Inviting activists, teachers, parents/guardians, businesses and other interested parties to help us eradicate bullying and improve the lives of millions.

A couple of years ago I watched a Channel 4 documentary called Cyber Bully. The plot of Cyber Bully is inspired by dozens of real-life cases. What happens to Casey is extreme, and framed in a dramatic format, yet all the events depicted are possible and indeed have happened to victims individually. Watching the drama had a dramatic effect on both myself and my daughter. I knew of the problem but was shocked that this style of bullying was so prevalent. Grace of course, as a teenager, was aware of the size of the problem.

Further research shows that 69% of young people in the UK have experienced some form of cyber bullying. In the most severe cases, victims can face webcam hacking, exploitation and ‘suicide trolling’. Anti-bullying campaigns urge teenagers to ‘walk away’ from online abuse, but for those caught in the grip of bullying, turning their backs on their tormentors is not easy.

This is why institutions who work with children of all ages must take note and support individuals to ensure that we minimise the effects of such actions.
Schools from all areas of the UK will be asked to become involved with various activities. You may even find that schools here on the island will also be undertaking activities to highlight the campaign.

Stand up against bullying

In the lead up to the weeklong event the alliance will support schools with free activities, lesson and assembly plans to take action against bullying and build safer environments for pupils.

There will also be opportunities for pupils to nominate teachers, support staff and youth workers for the ‘Power for Good’ which recognises those who go the extra mile to help young people with issues such as bullying, family life and mental health issues.
I have taken the decision to raise the awareness in my own small way as I believe that just because we live in a very special place our children may not be immune. Each and every one of us owes every child we know the right to be secure.

Anti bullying week is a great way to get involved, take a stand against bullying and raise awareness in your school, college or organisation. Don’t be afraid to challenge your school as to what they do to ensure that bullying does not take place.
The key aims of the week are...

To empower children and young people to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online.

To help parents and carers have conversations with their children about bullying – both as a way of preventing bullying, and to help children who are worried about bullying.

To encourage ‘talking schools’ where all children and young people are given a safe space to discuss bullying and other issues that affect their lives, and are supported to report all forms of bullying.

To equip teachers to respond effectively when children tell them they’re being bullied.

To raise awareness of the impact of bullying on children’s lives if they don’t tell anyone it’s happening – or if they are not given appropriate support – with a focus on the impact on mental health.

There are many resources available to schools and institutions like MTA; many young people like to watch videos of issues that affect them, some time ago the Pauline Quirke Academy made a video for the ABA which studies ‘bullying or banter’ and ‘why it is important to make a noise about bullying’. For those of us on the island who know of Pauline Quirke Academy I would imagine that this would be very informative, effective and something worth watching.

As a parent it must be a frightening experience if you believe your child is being bullied. The key advice from the support organisations is don’t panic. Explain to your child that the bullying is not their fault and together you will sort this out. Try and establish the facts. It can be helpful to keep a diary of events. If the bullying is online, save or copy images and text. Bullying is never acceptable, but find out what your child wants to happen. Help identify the steps you can take and source those who have the skills to help you.

Encouraging your child to get involved in other activities that build their confidence and esteem, help them form friendships outside of school or wherever the bullying is taking place and wear your odd socks with pride!

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