Bullying, a big no no

2016-10-05 06:00
 Bullying can cause real harm and should not be ignored.

Bullying can cause real harm and should not be ignored.

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AN increase in the number and severity of bullying incidents in South African schools calls for urgent and sustained intervention, an education expert at the Independent Institute of Education, Dr Gillian Mooney, has warned.
“These cases making it into the media represent only a fraction of the mistreatment many children go through. But the devastating consequences of bullying are leaving a lasting mark on the lives of countless youngsters, and the problem will continue growing unless an effective strategy is developed and consistently enforced.”

Although national and provincial education departments have policies and procedures in place more needs to be done to consistently support and educate pupils, parents and schools to ensure the safety and well being of everyone on the school grounds, she says.

Bullying is centrally about trying to gain power, says Mooney, which means that a rise in bullying can be expected in societies where citizens feel disempowered. It has a ripple effect whereby the bully, victim and the bystander are affected.
It is important that high-profile and easily accessible structures and processes are put in place to help schools deal with bullying, as teachers often feel their hands are tied and victims of bullying feel they have no voice. Additionally, bullies themselves should receive adequate support and counselling.

Misconceptions about bullying.
• False: adults should stay out of it when children re bullied. Adults must become involved. Teachers can monitor bullies to deter bullying behaviour.;p rincipals can discipline. .

• False: boys are the most likely victims. Both boys and girls are susceptible to bullying, although perhaps in different ways. Boys and girls are the targets of physical bullying, irls are more likely to experience relational, sexual and cyberbullying.

• False: children should just toughen up. This myth is a hangover from ideas like “boys will be boys” and that children will “work it out”. Bullying can cause real harm and should not be ignored.

• False: bystanders should stay out of it when they witness bullying. Evidence suggests that bystanders are also affected by witnessing bullying. Observers give bullies the audiences they crave, and legitimacy if they do not sanction the behaviour. Children can be taught to reduce bullying by noticing, reporting and intervening.

• False: it’s easy to spot a bullied child. Children do not report everything that happens in their lives to their parents. Adults need to find ways to make reporting bullying easier for children, and to follow up effectively when they do.

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