Schoolyard bullying

Bullying in the schoolyard is not new, but awareness has grown, and it is (rightly) no longer accepted or hushed up.

Bullying is an ongoing use of strength orposition to intimidate someone or force themto do something. Cyberbullying is new in thisgeneration. Previously a nasty “note” could bepassed around a class and be seen by some.Today millions can see a comment on line. Butnot every childhood taunt represents bullying.

As many as one in three school-aged childrenmay have been subject to bullying. It is morecommon in middle school than senior school.Emotional bullying is most common, followedby physical acts like pushing tripping orshoving. Mostly it happens at school or nearbywith surprisingly little on school busses.

Cyberbullying is less common in middle yearsbut more so in senior school.Victims may display low self-esteem, difficultyin trusting others, isolation and emotionalupset. Often bully’s too have emotional orother problems.

For parents, the key is to know what ishappening. Make it a habit to ask how arethings at school. Ask open rather than yes/noquestions. Ask general questions about howthey are feeling or what’s happening with theirfriends.

Ensure your child knows that help is availableand that they can talk to you about anyconcerns. For you, the school is the first port ofcall for any concerns. They have programs inplace to deal with bullying and want to stampit out.