Definition of Bullying
When someone repeatedly and deliberately says or does mean or hurtful things to another person.
There are three components of bullying:
- Power Imbalance
Traditional bullying can be
- Physical – hitting, kicking, shoving, prodding, gesturing, taking another’s property
- Emotional – intimidation, social exclusion, degrading, demeaning, controlling or humiliating
- Verbal – teasing, name calling, insulting, threatening or taunting
- Social – using friendships as a way to hurt someone else, gossiping, spreading rumours, leaving others out, refusing to speak to a friend, cyber bullying (see below).
Cyberbullying is similar to traditional bullying in that it is repeated, intentional and based on a power imbalance but it has the following differences:
- Anonymity – victims are often unaware who is bullying them
- Disinhibition – ‘you can’t see me, I can’t see you’
- Accessibility – bullying behaviours can take place all day every day.
- Punitive Fears – victims don’t report what is happening because they fear having their computer / phone privileges taken away
- Bystanders – peers to not actually witness face to face confrontation.
The following are indications that a child may be being bullied:
- Avoiding or fear of going to school
- Sudden poor academic progress
- Frequent health complaints – headaches, stomach aches etc
- Withdrawing or losing interest in activities with friends
- Feeling sad, moody, anxious, depressed, withdrawn, helpless
- Unexplained or implausible injuries
- Damaged or missing clothing or personal belongings
- Trouble sleeping – or frequent nightmares
- Changes in eating patterns
- Avoiding or spending excessive time on the computer
- Significant mood changes after using the computer
What Can Parents Do?
Talk with their child and cultivate and maintain open, candid communication. Conversation starters include:
- There have been a lot of news stories about people being bullied. Do you know of people like this?
- Have you ever had any problems with people on the internet?
- Has anyone ever bothered or threatened you?
- Do you know of any children who are picked on at school?
- How can I help it stop without embarrassing you?
Parents should also observe and listen
- Offer to drive your child and his/her friends to events
- Observe their interactions with friends
- Pay attention to changes
- Empathise with your child. Help them understand bullying is wrong and it is not their fault.
- Document bullying incidents
- Print out copies of inappropriate emails, Facebook posts and other on line communication
- Be a role model
- Get help for your child at school. Increase awareness and supervision of your child.
- Encourage your child to pursue interests and activities to build more positive relationships
- Help your child develop strategies and skills for handling bullying.
What to do if You are Being Bullied
- Don’t respond or show a reaction. Bullies like to see that they can upset you.
- Calmly and assertively tell the bully to stop…or say nothing and walk away.
- Use humour, if this is easy for you to do.
- Avoid areas where there are not many others around.
- Avoid bringing expensive things or lunch money to school.
- Sit with a trusted group of friends on the bus or at lunch.
- Join activities which you like to make more positive friendships
- Always REPORT any bullying that does not stop or makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe to your parents, teacher or another adult you trust.
- If you are bullied online – STOP – BLOCK- TELL
What the School Will Do
All children are entitled to courteous and respectful treatment by other pupils and staff whilst at school. As a school we have the responsibility to ensure your child has a safe learning environment. With this aim, we will:
- Listen to what you / your child has to say
- We will support your child within the framework of our anti-bullying policy
- We will investigate what you have said and then report to you what we have found out and what we have done to help your child
- Engage pupils in prevention through the creation of tip sheets, poster contests, surveys, have older pupils talk with younger pupils, classroom competitions, make a video, list the consequences of cyberbullying.
For cyberbullying we will:
- Teach empathy
- Revisit rules for online behaviour
- Engage pupils in prevention
- Teach children about cyberbullying as part of our e-safety and PSHE curriculum
Rules for On-Line Behaviour
- Think before you send
- Treat all people with respect – face to face and on line
- Don’t use language you wouldn’t want your parents/teachers etc to read
- Don’t send messages when you are angry.
- Remember things aren’t private on the internet – you can’t erase of take back anything once it is online.
- There are consequences
- Make cyberbullying uncool at school.
Internet Safety Tips for Parents
- Keep the family computer in a common room – NOT a child’s bedroom
- Establish rules for internet use such as identifying what sites your child can visit, who are their ‘friends’, who can they talk too, how long can they be online and when can they use the computer.
- Know your child’s passwords, ‘friend’ or follow your child on social networking sites
- Google your child – search images, photos, videos, newsgroups. Use quotation marks around the name. Set google alerts for your child’s name.
- Introduce Parental controls for smart phones such as restrict camera use, restrict voice calls, restrict time of day the phone will work, block content, establish the parental controls available from your internet provider.
- Social networking – cyber bullying violates the terms of service agreement and should be reported to the site and the Internet Service Provider who can close the account. Facebook and Instagram will remove entries from children under the age of 13.