Bully-proof your school-going child

2018-01-23 06:00
PHOTO: kalisha naickerHillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith.

PHOTO: kalisha naickerHillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith.

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AS pupils gear up for school authorities and children’s rights organisations are asking parents to “bully-proof” their child for the year ahead.

According to Hillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith, bullying cases reached alarming statistics last year, and SAPS is doing all they can to curb this.

She said that cases ranged from petty name calling, to fights and even pupils being caught with weapons at school. Smith added that bullying also extends to social media where videos are posted which also causes “damage” to the victim.

“Tell-tail signs of a bullied children may include children may not wanting to go to school. They may dress with inappropriate clothing when it is hot, etc., to hide bruises or marks.

“Their school performance may deteriorate or there is a loss of interest in school. A child who has a bubbly personality may now isolate him or herself or become socially withdrawn. A child may experience a loss or damage of personal belongings, for example the bully may take pocket money, cell phones, iPads from a child,” she said.

“Bullying affects a child emotionally, psychologically and impacts negatively on their general activities therefore it is imperative that supportive counseling services are accessed. Matters of bullying should be reported to the principal and parents should not try and resolve the problem on their own.”

In terms of teenage suicides, Smith said this is as a result of cyber bullying, and the fact the child feels they cannot speak about it to anyone.

“Parents should always ask their child about what is going on at school, they must monitor what their children are doing on social media. There must always be open lines of communication.”

She said that if one suspects bullying at school or if counselling is needed, parents should contact Childline – Crisisline on 080 005 5555.

“Trained counselors, who work on a 24 hour basis, will render the necessary counselling and supportive services to children and their parents. Parents can also contact the Department of Social Development or Child Welfare in the area in which they reside for counselling services,” Smith added.

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