Anti-Bullying Awareness Week

By Megan Plumstead

Anti-bullying week takes place between the 18th and the 22nd of November and this year it’s focused on cyber bullying.

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Bullying can take all sorts of forms, physical and emotional but in recent years the worry world of cyber-bullying has been growing.

Cyber bullying is the use of the internet to harass another person, sometimes repeatedly, through forums, social networking sites or even personal email or text.

Cyber-bullying is difficult to monitor, especially in children, who in some cases roam the internet with more knowledge of its workings than there parents. Cyber bullies can choose to be anonymous and may not even know there victim, they can rally other people online through social networking sites or forums and form what is called a ‘digital pile-on’ where a number of people support the bully in there victimisation of one user.

In some cases cyber bullying has extreme consequences.

Amanda Todd was a 15 year-old girl from Canada who committed suicide in October 2012 after posting a you-tube video using flash cards that hide most of her face, telling her story of being blackmailed and physically assaulted.  Her death cast light on cyber bullying and a motion was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons to propose a study of the scope of bullying in Canada, and for more funding and support for anti-bullying organizations.

Another more recent case was 12 year-old Rebecca Sedwick, in Florida, who committed suicide last month after two girls harassed her continuously over Facebook and texts.

Anti-bullying week is supported by over 60 charities including Kidscape and The Anti-bullying Alliance, and although it is aiming to raise awareness of cyber bullying, it also aims to tackle the problems of old fashioned face to face abuse.

According to Bullying UK’s 2006 National Bullying Survey, 69% of children in the UK have been or are being bullied and an estimated 20 children and young people commit suicide every year due to bullying. Cyber bullying is said to affect around a quarter of secondary school aged children at some point.

Bullying is not just limited to children however.  A Survey by Unison found that more than one third of UK workers have been affected by work place bullying in the last six months. A figure that has doubled over the last 12 years.

The rise in this statistic is largely due to cyber bullying, which is thriving in a society where we rely on technology in the work place every day.

Bullying in the adult world is often not as black and white as with children. It can be hard to identify especially in cases of emotional black mail and hierarchy bullying where a person abuses their position of authority. However the simple truth of it is, if you feel bullied, you’re being bullied.

If you are being bullied at work there are numbers you can call for advice and confidential support:  DirectGov,Citizens Advice (0844 848 9600) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (0845 604 6610).

 

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