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What can be done? A guide for parents, teachers and carers.
What action can be taken at home and at school to prevent bullying?

There are some general strategies that can be followed which should help those being bullied and also for people who have to deal with bullying such as parents, teachers, and carers.

Be aware of signs of bullying in your child. Quietness, being "withdrawn", not wanting to go to school, etc. are examples of behaviour typical in a bullied child.

ed-u.com gets bullying out in the open!
Encourage children, students, etc. to tell you about the bullying with the help of Ed and Kate's questions. (Please see bottom of page).

If possible, arrange a session where the subject of bullying is discussed. It is useful during these sessions to ensure that the harm bullying can cause is clear and that action CAN and WILL be taken to stop it.

Ed and Kate are sad - Click here for a cartoon on bullying. Teach those that are being bullied techniques to help them deal with bullying. Try and encourage children to ignore being teased or taunted whilst you are dealing with the problem. Also, try and teach them to talk about this openly with you so that you can take appropriate action. Let them know it's OK to "tell" on bullies. Kate tells on the bullies! - Click here for a cartoon on bullying. Deal with bullies directly and make it clear that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Difficult though it can be, try and remain calm and supportive with your child in dealing with this issue. Remember, they are already suffering from the affects of bullying and will need lots of support.

See the head teacher as soon as it is clear that a problem exists.

What is bullying?
Bullying is a big problem in education. With so many children being closely involved together on a day-to-day basis, some sort of bullying often occurs. But what exactly is bullying and how can it be dealt with? Ed and Kate found out more about this difficult subject.

They started investigating bullying by firstly establishing a definition of bullying from an Oxford dictionary

  • Bully - "A person (or animal) who makes himself or herself a terror to the weak or defenceless."
  • Bullying - "To intimidate, to abuse."

    The Oxford dictionary definition of bullying is fine, but ed-u.com asks what exactly is it and what does it really mean?

    Maybe another question would be why should we worry about bullying as an issue at all? Is it not just part of growing up? Yes it is a fact of life, but that does not mean that we should not be concerned about it, or try and do something about it. Another definition of bullying is:

    "A student (or pupil) is being bullied or victimised when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students." Bullying at School. Olweus, Dan. Blackwell 1993.

    As far as being concerned with bullying, when young people come together there is bound to be interaction and some of this could be of a negative nature (bullying).

    The fact is that bullying can lead to long-term "deficiency" and insecurities in the bullied person and they may find it hard to behave normally because they are being bullied.

    Quiet, withdrawn behaviour is one example here. Unfortunately, such behaviour can itself lead to further bullying because the individual appears more vulnerable.

    Because schools, colleges, etc. are learning institutions it is important to address and deal with bullying because people cannot learn well whilst being under the influence of bullying.

    The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children http://www.nspcc.org.uk/) indicated that one UK bullying helpline received over 16,000 calls and these figures are rising.

    Bullying on the increase.
    One UK study of 13,000 pupils, by Exeter University, found that up to 33 per cent of 11 to 16 year olds are bullied severely and that attending school was becoming a very real concern for them. Earlier studies show that these figures show an increase from 20 per cent.

    So why is bullying increasing?
    The answer seems to lie in the state of society, and with the family in particular. Studies suggest that children who are brought up in a secure environment, with normal caring families very rarely become bullies or suffer from it.

    Often, where children feel rejected by their parents, they express their frustration and rejection in the form of bullying, be it physical or psychological.

    Social factors such as the increase in the divorce rate, work demands, low incomes, etc. are all having an affect on young people whom often turn to bullying as a release.

    How much bullying is going on?

    A Psychology Department study, by Sheffield University UK, found that approximately 10 per cent of pupils in primary schools reported being bullied at least once a week (There was a 4 per cent report of bullying in secondary schools).

    If these figures are extrapolated, then up to 350,000 school children in the age range 8 to 12 years, and over and 100,000 secondary school children, are being bullied in some form or another, at least once a week. So there is a real problem.

    Help through support
    If you suspect that the child in your care is being bullied, or indeed is bullying others, then try and support them as much as possible.

    Try to get the answers to as many of the questions below as possible. This will be very helpful in actually addressing the problem of bullying.

    It may be that the young person concerned does not respond well to being questioned about the bullying. In this case, it may be appropriate to ask them, in a supportive manner, to complete the Help Sheet (or parts of it), on their own in a familiar environment such as their own bedroom.

    Once you have some facts to help you from the Help Sheet (or even if you only suspect that bullying is occurring) then go and see the head teacher. NOW is the time to do this.

    If the Help Sheet has been completed, or partly completed, then take it along with you to see the head teacher. Bullying does have a real influence on people's lives and can affect their studies, so try and address it straight away.

    Kate's happier now that she told someone - Click here for a cartoon on bullying.Ed's really glad that Kate told - Click here for a cartoon on bullying.
    Get bullying out into the open with ed-u.com! These questions are for children of all ages.
    Bullying Help Sheet

    1. Who is being bullied?

    2. Who is doing the bullying?

    3. When did it start?

    4. How often does it occur?

    5. What does the bully say?

    6. Is anyone made to do anything that they don't want to?

    7. How does it make the bullied person feel?

    8. Does it make it harder to do homework and class studies?

    9. Does it make it difficult to go to school?

    10. Has anyone been told about the bullying?

    11. Has any action been taken against the bullying?

    12. What else could be done to stop the bullying?

    Please click here to print off a stand-alone help sheet containing just the 12 questions above.

    Please note
    The information provided by ed-u.com is for help and guidance only and anyone at all unsure of how to deal with the problem should consult an appropriate professional.

    An Ed-U-Kate production. http://www.ed-u.com/bullhelp.htm All rights reserved.
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