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The Current Situation

Bullying is often both a child’s and a parent’s worst nightmare; unfortunately almost everybody will experience a degree of bullying at some point in their lives. Research carried out in 2006 by the British charity, Bullying UK, suggested that 87% of parents reported that their child had been bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey, with more than 71% claiming that their child had experienced physical pain at the hands of bullies. Bullying is a serious issue and can have extremely frightening and long-lasting effects; studies repeatedly show that those who were bullied as children frequently suffer from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem in adulthood. The number of children and young people taking their own lives due to bullying is also increasing. Childline statistics also confirm the growing problem of bullying, suggesting that the majority of calls made by children to the help line are related to bullying of some sort.

Forms of Bullying

Today, bullying is more common than ever and takes several forms. While traditional forms of bullying, such as name calling or being left out of games, still exist, today most children have access to the internet as well as owning a mobile phone, which means they are susceptible to being bullied via text message, prank calls or on social networking sites. Bullying can therefore be harder for parents and teachers to monitor and more difficult for children to escape from. The Government recommends that parents keep a close eye on their children when using the internet; filters can also be set to deny access to any sites deemed unsuitable for children.

Bullying in Schools

The Government has made it clear that bullying of any form is not to be tolerated and the Department for Children, Schools and Families has set out guidelines for schools to follow to ensure bullying is kept to a minimum. Today, all schools must have measures in place to tackle the problem of bullying and to encourage positive relationships between children. The Childline Partnership with Schools (CHIPS) programme has also helped schools to find suitable solutions to issues raised by bullying.

If your child is being bullied

If you are afraid that your child is being bullied, you should encourage them to talk to you, another family member, carer or teacher about it. You can also approach the school about it and sort out a suitable solution together. Children are often afraid of telling adults that they are being bullied so make sure they know you are there to help and not to judge in any way; it is important that they know that it is not weak to admit that they need some help. If your child doesn’t want to talk to anybody face to face then charities such as the NSPCC and Childline offer 24 hour advice and support via the telephone. If you have a child who is struggling to recover from bullying, your GP can arrange child counselling and therapy to improve confidence
and help rebuild trust and relationships.