Bullying; it’s emotional, man

14 Nov 2018 Helen Cole

Anti-Bullying Week 2018 is 12th to 16th November. Show your support and join the conversation with #ChooseRespect. Find out more from the Anti-Bullying Alliance

What is cyberbullying?

Turn to the topic of bullying, whether it’s at a conference or a dinner party, and people’s perspectives vary widely; but most are drawn from their own experiences. It’s a very personal thing to discuss.  Many people can relate to times in their lives when they may have felt isolated; targeted; at the receiving end of something unpleasant. 

This subjective response to the subject of bullying can also influence how bullying is defined, and it varies widely. The Directorate General EU (Internal Policies) research in November 2017 “Cyberbullying Among People” concluded that while there is no single internationally agreed upon definition of cyberbullying, according to the literature the following elements characterise cyberbullying: the use of electronic or digital means; the intention to cause harm; an imbalance of power between the victims and the perpetrators; a sense of anonymity and lack of accountability of abusers as well as the publicity of actions. 

Only fourteen EU Member States provide an official definition of bullying online. Indeed bullying here in the UK is not a crime as such: only when its actions cut across existing criminal legislation.

So given it is such a personal and emotional area in which to build effective strategies for reduction and response, it seems logical that those strategies are built on understanding the social and emotional dynamics that occur around bullying situations. How to navigate them not only for your own well-being but for those of your friends and society in general.

We often ask children and young people to “Stand up to Bullying!” but seldom equip them to do so.

The ENABLE anti-bullying programme from the Director General Justice of the European Union does just that.

Social and emotional

ENABLE (European Network Against Bullying in Learning and Leisure Environments) aims to tackle bullying in a holistic way, helping young people exercise their fundamental rights in the home, school, class and community (i.e. peer group).

Using a unique approach that combines social and emotional learning (SEL) with Peer Support, the ENABLE team strives to provide school staff with the skills, knowledge and confidence that can help them establish an effective student Peer Support scheme in their schools and develop their students’ social and emotional skills.

You can find the ENABLE resources at enable.eun.org and a full set of introductory webinars at http://enable.eun.org/webinars.

Further resources

PSHE toolkit

As part of our PSHE toolkit we created the module entitled “Gone too far”. This lesson and accompanying film explore the issue of cyberbullying with an LGBT focus. The activities in the Toolkit help students to define cyberbullying and recognise examples of it. One of the key focuses of the lesson plans is exploring when actions have crossed the line. In addition to this there is clear signposting to advice and support on how to respond to and deal with issues of cyberbullying.

Let’s fight it together

Let’s fight it together is Childnet’s award-winning film that is designed to help sensitise people to the hurt and pain that can be caused by cyberbullying. The film shows ways in which cyberbullying can occur, who it involves, how it can affect different people, and what can be done to prevent it and respond to it.

Hot topic

Our hot topic for teachers gives examples of advice you can give to pupils about cyberbullying, as well as top tips on what you as a professional can do to help pupils dealing with cyberbullying issues.

The POSH Helpline

The Professionals Online Safety Helpline is a helpline designed for professionals who work with young people. The helpline is open Monday – Friday 10am to 4pm and can be reached by emailing helpline@saferinternet.org.uk or by phoning 0344 381 4772. 

BBC Own It

BBC Own It have created a great collection of resources looking at online bullying for Anti-Bullying week, including videos, quizzes, and advice.

This article was originally posted on swgfl.org.uk.

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