How would you feel if you were being bullied by someone?
Sometimes people are unkind, they say nasty things and they can upset us. We have to accept that people can occasionally feel angry, stressed and irritable, or perhaps they are just having a bad day. However, it doesn’t mean you are being bullied.
According to the official US website, ‘Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.’
In the United Kingdom, the Official for National Statistics says one in five children aged 10 to 15 experienced at least one type of online bullying in the year ending March 2020.
Types of bullying
Bullying can take many different forms, both online and offline.
Online bullying, particularly by an anonymous social media account, is just one way a bully could operate. People of all ages can experience some form of bullying that can range in severity. Unfortunately, bullying can also occur within families, at work, within the school, or in the local community.
Sometimes, bullying at school can take an illegal form and become a matter for the police to be involved in.
Anti-Bullying Week 2022
The more we can do to raise awareness of bullying amongst children and young people, the better the chances of stopping it from happening. It doesn’t stop there though, we should be reiterating these messages for how adults interact within our schools.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance is coordinating Anti-Bullying Week 2022 in England and Wales, between the 14th and 18th of November. Every year Anti-Bullying Week has a theme, and this year it’s ‘Reach Out’.
The alliance has consulted with teachers and pupils to develop a theme that empowers students to counter the hurt and harm caused by bullying.
“Bullying can affect the lives of millions and can leave us feeling hopeless. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we challenge it, we can change it. It starts by reaching out.” (Anti-Bullying Alliance)
Anti-Bullying Week in school
In 2021, over 80 per cent of schools in England and Wales marked Anti-Bullying Week in some way.
It is estimated that the 2021 campaign reached 7.5 million children and young people. We should try to increase that percentage in 2022 and highlight the potential for bullying in any school worldwide.
During the week, you could ask your children to:
- Rewrite the school’s anti-bullying policy.
- Produce and present an assembly about Anti-Bullying Week.
- Participate in anti-bullying-themed lessons across various subjects, such as drama, English, music and art.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance has developed many free resources to support primary and secondary schools during Anti-Bullying Week 2022.
Odd Socks Day
One way to get your school involved is by celebrating odd socks day.
Everyone is unique. Celebrate people for who they are and not what others expect them to be. Odd socks day is an event for children to wear odd socks and honour their individuality.
There is plenty of practical advice which a child could take if they think they are being bullied in school, such as:
- Make the person aware of what they are doing and how it is making you feel.
- Tell a teacher or someone you trust what is happening.
- Talk to parents or organisations there to help, such as Childline.
- Keep a diary of what is happening.
- Refer to this advice and support.
For adults who are experiencing bullying, many of the same strategies apply. What will you do to highlight the importance of victims of bullying reaching out during Anti-Bullying Week this year?
Everyone should be encouraged to reach out, talk about their experiences and not suffer in silence.