PARENTS here are warned that bullying doesn’t end when school stops for the summer holidays.
In recent weeks a local parent contacted the Herald about alleged bullying at a local school and claimed that the issue was not being dealt with properly. Feeling they had no one else to turn to, and being critical of his school’s response to their son’s alleged bullying, the family resorted to reporting the matter to the police.
And another reader, a heartbroken mother of a child at a local school told the Herald that bullying was ‘rampant’ in the county. The mother said she believed bullying was worse for this generation due to technology and explained that cyber-bullying was not an issue with her son as she limited his use of the internet. “I’m not going to put him in a situation that makes him more vulnerable,” she said. “He uses the computer for his homework, but I won’t let him on social media.”
This week, the NSPCC has warned parents to be vigilant as with the rapid increase use of social media, bullying can remain a constant factor in your child’s life and is becoming a 24/7 issue.
A spokesman said: “Online bullying is one of the biggest child protections challenges of this generation. It is a problem intensified by the ever-increasing presence of the Internet. Years ago, a child could escape their bullies when they left the playground and get some respite in the safety of their home, now the 24/7 nature of the Internet means that a child can be targeted around the clock.”
Bullying can have a devastating impact on a young person, affecting their self-worth, leave them feeling isolated and potentially being a trigger for depression.
During 2015 – 2016, Bullying was the fourth most common reason for children to contact the free and confidential helpline.
Anyone being bullied can speak to a Childline counsellor by calling 0800 1111 or through a one-to-one chat online at www.childline.org.
If a child is being bullied, Childline counsellors advise them to:
• Tell someone – speak to a friend, parent/guardian or someone they trust. Even if they’re not ready to take it further they can offer them support.
• Find a way to stay safe – stay away from people known to be involved in bullying, if bullying happens on the way home make sure they’re accompanied or get a lift.
• Block the bully – make sure they don’t have access to social media accounts and don’t reply to any abusive messages as this can make the situation worse.
• Build self-esteem – it is easy to start believing that the insults are true, even though they are not. Getting confidence back can help children deal with bullying.