Alarming statistics show that one in four school children are victims of bullying.
With social media use increasing, the number of bullied children is rising everyday and the victims are getting younger.
But there are things you can do to help your child if you suspect they may be the victim of bullying.
Firstly, there are signs of bullying.
Be aware if your child:
- Is hesitant about going online.
- Seems nervous when an instant message, text or email appears.
- Hides their phone or minimises the computer screen when you enter the room.
- Withdraws from you and their friends.
How you can help:
- Listen - Try to listen to the whole story without interrupting. Be empathetic, calm and ask your child what they would like to happen before making suggestions.
- Talk - Have a conversation about what happened and remind your child it's normal to fell hurt, it's never OK to be bullied, and it's NOT their fault.
- Find out what is happening - Note what, when and where the bullying occurred, who was involved and how often and if anybody witnessed it. Don't offer to confront the person yourself.
- Contact the school - Check your school's bullying policy. Find out if the school are aware of the bullying and make an appointment to speak to your child's teacher.
- Give sensible advice - Encourage your child not to fight back, but help them explore other possible responses.
And if you are being cyber-bullied:
- Don't reply to the bully.
- Click the report abuse button or flag.
- Tell a trusted adult and give them the messages.
There are also a number of anti-bullying organisations which can help:
- The Alannah and Madeleine Foundation
- Kids' Helpline
Visit National Centre Against Bullying website to download a 'Bullying Hurts' brochure.