Is bullying getting worse?

Bullying in schools has always been a problem, but there’s a growing concern that it may be worsening.


Bullied TeenagerResearch released by TES on 14th September revealed that from over 1000 secondary school teachers interviewed, over half thought that bullying was a problem in their school, with more than a fifth saying that bullying in their school was on the increase. Rather more shockingly, 40 per cent declared they knew of pupils too scared to attend school because of it.

Teachers also felt they weren’t able combat the problem alone, with an urgent need for it to be tackled on many fronts: from giving children the means and empowerment to report bullying to encouraging parents to take a closer interest in their children’s day-to-day activities.

New technologies have brought new dangers
Whilst bullying once took place within the school grounds — where teachers had full visibility of pupil interaction and behaviour — the growth in Smartphone ownership and the use of social media has taken bullying out of public view into a much darker world; one where the perpetrator can remain anonymous and the victim contacted anywhere, day or night.

Cyber bullying means the torment can now occur undercover and go undetected, leading to tragic consequences. Victims of cyber bullying are more inclined to self-harm and exhibit signs of suicidal behaviours, but surprisingly, so are the perpetrators themselves. A recent study by UK researchers, released in August 2017, found that online bullies are 20 per cent more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to attempt suicide than non-perpetrators. Those who bully online have very complex emotional issues which may include feelings of inadequacy, an inability to socialise in the outside world or feel the desire to hold power over or control another person. In some cases, cyber bullying can be inflicted by a group rather than an individual, with others encouraged to ‘join in’ with the bullying in order for them to become accepted as part of a group or to increase their popularity.

Sadly, in the majority of schools, cyber bullying is a problem that many teachers are unable to get to grips with. 51 per cent of teachers interviewed in the TES survey said they had not had the training they needed to combat bullying, and with the NSPCC having recorded an 88% increase in calls about cyber bullying in the past 5 years, it’s an area that many schools feel underequipped to manage.

Plan ahead for Anti-Bullying Week
The week of activities which will be held in November is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which was founded in 2002 by the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau. Over the years, the organisation has been bolstered by the support of a number of core and associate members who work collaboratively to raise awareness about the impact of bullying. Their aim is to create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn.

E-safety Support members can download a selection of topical resources including a cyber bullying assembly for either KS1/2 or KS3/4 – log into your member dashboard to download or register for FREE membership for access

Written by E-safety Support on September 28, 2017 12:55

Pupil Voice Week: 25th - 29th September

Pupil Voice Week 2017 will be celebrated by schools both nationally and internationally with the theme ‘It’s Your Voice’.


What is Pupil Voice Week?
Coordinated by tootoot, Pupil Voice Week is designed to encourage primary and secondary schools to raise awareness of key issues, such as bullying, cyberbullying, racism, mental health and e-safety issues, that children and young people may face on a daily basis.

This year the theme is ‘It’s Your Voice’. We aim to celebrate the diversity and individuality of The Pupil Voice, encouraging pupils to use their voice be themselves and create positivity for those around them.

Pupil Voice Week will also have a focus on pupils' mental health, ensuring that they are encouraged to use their voice to speak-up about their mental health and wellbeing.

Pupil Voice Week calls upon pupils, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, councils, companies and policy makers, to join together and explore ways that they can empower pupils, giving them the knowledge and tools they need to feel confident to use their voice.

Why is it important?
Within the past year 1.5 million children and young people have been bullied.

Children and young people can be bullied for all manner of reasons from appearance and accents to gender and race. And although not their fault, it can still have a huge impact on their self-confidence, mental health and wellbeing.

As much as 36% of children and young people who have been bullied said it made them feel depressed and at least half of suicides amongst young people are related to bullying,

This is why we want to celebrate the pupil voice, the fact that’s it’s good to be different, and that a pupil’s voice is the most important part of them.

When is Pupil Voice Week?
Pupil Voice Week is the 25th – 29th September 2017 with activities running throughout the week in schools, organisations and online.

Celebrating Your Voice – Our Call to Action!
We want Pupil Voice Week 2017 to empower pupils, helping them to understand that their differences are to be celebrated.

With this in mind we’re challenging our staff, partners (and their staff!), and schools to share with us what makes them unique! All you need to do is print-out the speech-bubble task and tell us what makes your voice unique. Is it your Confidence? Kindness? Friendliness? We can’t wait to see. Take a picture, boomerang or video of you and your speech-bubble and share with us on social media by using #PupilVoiceWeek and tagging @tootootofficial. You can download a blank speech bubble here

How else can we get involved?
There are a range of ways you can support with Pupil Voice Week:

  • Use the resources on pupilvoiceweek.co.uk to help inspire and shape your own campaign.
  • Speak to your schools and partner organisations, let them know about Pupil Voice Week and the ways that they can get involved.
  • Write a blog raising awareness of the importance for pupils to know it’s their voice and it’s good to be unique! – make sure you send it to us so we can share it too!
  • Send a newsletter to your key audience groups, encouraging them to participate in Pupil Voice Week.
  • Contact local press and key decision makers, speak to them about the importance of raising awareness with pupils nationally, and ask them to help promote the week.
  • Join the conversation on social media during the lead-up to, and throughout the week, using the hashtag #PupilVoiceWeek and tag @tootootofficial.
  • Send us pictures or videos of what you get up to, to pupilvoiceweek@tootoot.co.uk, and we’ll feature them across our social media – you might even make it into next year’s video!
  • Speak to your schools and partner organisations, let them know about Pupil Voice Week and the ways that they can get involved.

    Need some help getting started?
    We have a range of free resources to help you kick-start your campaign, you can find them at pupilvoiceweek.co.uk. As well as those, feel free to use any of the facts and figures below to help shape your Pupil Voice Week campaign, both on and offline.

  • Within the past year 1.5 million children and young people have experienced bullying (Ditch the Label).
  • 83% of young people say that bullying has a negative impact on their self-esteem (Ditch the Label).
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds (World Health Organisation)
  • 64% of children who were bullied did not report it (Petrosina et al, 2010)
  • 3 in 5 young people say that homophobic bullying has a direct impact on their school work and it made straight A students want to leave education entirely (Stonewall).

    For more information visit pupilvoiceweek.co.uk

  • Written by Michael Brennan on September 21, 2017 11:00

    Cyber bullying – it’s time to bring things into the open

    Whilst it feels as if we’ve come a long way when it comes to tackling cyber bullying, events of previous weeks show there is still much to be done.


    Bullying sketchOnly days ago, another victim took their own life as a result of being persecuted on the Internet. Yorkshire teenager, George Hessay had just turned 15 on May 10th when he was found to have hung himself after receiving insulting comments online. Surprisingly, the comments were not posted on one of the mainstream social media sites but on Sayat.me, an Estonian site created as an anonymous feedback tool for business users seeking “constructive, honest feedback” from colleagues and clients. The site clearly states that it is for use by people over 18, yet amongst its 30 million users, many are believed to be teenagers.

    The Sayat.me site apologised with a statement that it deplores bullying of any kind and was taken offline by its administrators, however removing the site fails to address the crux of the problem. For every site that is removed, there are always hundreds of other ‘anonymous’ sites that can be willingly accessed by teenagers. These are often unmoderated and lack the adequate tools to report and block offensive comments.

    The problem of anonymity
    Anonymous sites pose particular dangers for young people. Whilst they state their purpose is to give people the freedom to express themselves without fear or prejudice, giving irresponsible people a virtual curtain to hide behind often means giving them the means to torment others without the fear of reproach. Strong opinions that wouldn’t normally be vented in the real world can easily be typed in just a few seconds, online arguments can escalate and people quickly become victims of insult or abuse. For younger people, their bullies are often people they know in the real world; frustrated or jealous school mates who reveal a nastier side when they have the opportunity to conceal their identities. Bullied adolescents and teenagers are left hurt and agonised, not knowing which of their ‘friends’ has turned against them.

    One of the ways online bullying differs so much from personal bullying is that the perpetrator is able to psychologically disconnect themselves from the damage they are causing. Whilst bullying once took place in the playground, the ownership of digital devices by young people means that bullying can take place on a 24 hour basis. For the victim there is no escape, even when they’re at home. Younger people who have experienced online bullying suffer from lower self-esteem, fear, frustration, anger and depression and increased suicidal ideation, with the psychological damage of online bullying often taking years to heal. The impact is long lasting.

    Let’s start talking
    With no real way to enforce an over 18s restriction on anonymous websites (most young people will falsify information to sign up anyway) the only way to prevent online bullying is to encourage victims to speak out and raise awareness of the damage they’ve suffered at the hands of other young people. Whilst technology has evolved at a tremendous pace, some of the social aspects of bullying remain the same. Young people still experience tremendous pressure to be accepted. Action for Children reported that one in seven (15%) children has bullied others online, with nearly 60% of children responding that they bullied to fit in with a certain social group.

    The need for proper education, openness and discussion of the matter has been supported by the NSPCC who, in the wake of George Hessay’s death stated that “Children and teenagers must be reassured that it’s perfectly okay to refuse to take part in crazes that either make themselves or other people upset, hurt and scared and that parents should talk with their children and emphasise that they can still be accepted even if they don’t go along with the crowd.”

    Having these types of conversations can be difficult, but opening up the subject carries huge benefits. Those who are being bullied find it incredibly isolating and fear discussing the types of comments they’ve been receiving, particularly with their parents. Making it clear to them that it’s ok to bring things into the open without creating anger, criticism or upset means that the problem can explored, options discussed and any further bullying eliminated, giving the child a much happier outcome.

    How parents can get involved
    With half term almost upon us, Internet Matters has taken the perfect opportunity to drive these conversations through its #Pledge2Talk campaign. Working alongside the Anti-Bullying Alliance, they have created guides for parents, providing advice on how to discuss the subject of cyber bullying with their children and the steps they can take if they feel they are being threatened online. The week-long holiday means that parents are more likely to be with their children at home, with many children using their mobile devices and social media, giving a natural situation in which the topic can be raised and discussed.

    Talking about cyber bullying in the school environment
    Education about the cyber bullying shouldn’t just stop at home, and 'Stop Cyberbullying Day' on 16th June gives schools a chance to create a themed day around the topic. This could include assemblies, lessons and workshops about why young people are drawn into online bullying, how to say ‘no’ when encouraged by peers to bully others and how young people can reduce the risk of attracting online bullies, such as not using anonymous forums and websites. Most importantly, it’s a perfect time to discuss the responsible use of the Internet, meaning adolescents understand how their online behaviour impacts others and how it can leave behind lasting and harmful consequences.

    Free cyber bullying webinar
    To learn more about teaching children about cyber bullying, why not join us for one of our three seminars taking place throughout Thursday 8th June?

    Presented by Tim Pinto, e-safety consultant and member of the Educational Advisory Board for CEOP, each webinar will give you a 20 minute refresher on the topic, quickly updating you on all you need to know about this increasingly worrying trend of behaviour amongst young people.

    The webinars will address the following:

  • Definitions of cyber bullying - different names e.g. trash talk
  • Research - how many young people are being affected?
  • The signs to look out for and the consequences of cyber bullying
  • Ways to counter cyber bullying
  • There will also be a section on tips for teaching cyber bullying awareness and prevention.

    To register for the 10am cyber bullying webinar, click here
    To register for the 2pm cyber bullying webinar, click here
    To register for the 4pm cyber bullying webinar, click here

    All E-safety Support members can also download a cyber bullying assembly plan to use on 'Stop Cyberbullying Day'. To download the assembly, log into your E-safety Support dashboard or register for free membership

    Further webinars taking place include 'Digital Reputation' and 'Public WiFi' - find out more

    Written by E-safety Support on May 25, 2017 11:00


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