Monday, 5 May 2008

Booting out cyberbullying in our schools

If for anyone else, life may become more bearable for children in school playgrounds and classrooms with the launch this week of an anti-bullying pack.

The kit is designed by Tower Hamlets Council to equip schools in East London to tackle bullying.

It provides tips on how to spot bullying and what help can be given to those that are affected by it.

The concept is not new – most schools already have anti-bullying policies in place and teachers and prefects alike can usually spot it.

So why spend money on duplicating a policy and dishing it out as novel?

It could be because there are new forms of bullying that parents (or even chidlren themselves) are not aware are actually classified as bullying and can cause serious distress to victims.

Helen Jenner, the Service Head for Early Years Children and Learning at Tower Hamlets Council (whoa … what a long title!) says that: ‘New forms of bullying like cyber-bullying have emerged in recent years, and it’s important that schools know how to identify these problems and deal with them if they occur.’

Now what is this cyber bullying?

Like me, you may suspect is involves the internet. Correct.

The department for Children, Schools and Families defines it as:

“an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself.”

This booklet will certainly teach mischievous children in our schools that making fun of someone on YouTube or bombarding them with nasty texts for the fun of it is not acceptable.

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