So first the good news . . .
Bullying – in the traditional sense, at least – is said to no longer be quite the problem it once was in schools in England.
This is a conclusion based upon research and figures that the Department for Education has released in recent days to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week 2015.
There are, the figures suggest, 30,000 fewer children in England facing bullying in schools than a decade previously, this a finding that has to be welcomed. Violent behaviour in the playground has become less commonplace and the Government claim; ‘bullying is plummeting’. However, of course – as Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, has herself acknowledged this week – ‘there is still more work to do’. Much more in fact.
Bullying & Children’s Mental Health – North East
Because bullying remains rife. Because it continues to cause problems. Because the knock-on effects (anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and the like) remain a major issue.
Yes, bullying in the traditional sense is, perhaps, no longer the problem it once was . . . But the fact that cyberbullying is on the increase means that problems persist and efforts cannot be relaxed.
In the latest DfE study, more than one in 10 children said that they’d experienced cyberbullying at first hand at some point during the last 12 months. In this number, girls appear to be at greater risk than boys. Most (in the main due to social media and its increasing prevalence in young people’s lives) takes place outside the school environment. This makes it far more difficult to address.
That bullying is high on the Governmental agenda – and that progress is, in some regards, being made – is a step in the right direction.
Yet more still needs to be done to ensure that help and support is available for those encountering the issues that are more complex and harder to police. Thanks to smartphones, tablets and computers and the like, modern bullying can take place far beyond the playground. These days, our children are at risk at home, in their bedrooms, behind closed doors. This is where the damage is being done.
There’s another report, this one from the National Children’s Bureau and the Anti-Bullying Alliance, that flags up two main issues in this regard. That more than half of all young people who experience bullying (online or otherwise) go on to encounter associated issues such as those outlined above (anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts). That teachers and GPs receive insufficient training in dealing with the associated traumas that bullying can cause.
This is the main thing to consider this week . . .
Bullying – in the traditional sense, at least – is no longer the problem it once was in schools in England and there’s no denying that this is good news, but problems persist and risks remain.
The methods might have changed, but bullying is still a cause for concern.
There is still more work to do. Much more in fact.
Do YOU have concerns about bullying and the impact it is having upon a child? Here at CPUK, we understand the issues. Contact us.