Childhood bullying has profound impacts on the physical and emotional well-being of young individuals. In recent years it has transcended traditional forms and extends into the digital world, manifesting as cyberbullying, making it an inescapable concern that affects bullies, victims, and bystanders alike. This pervasive problem not only affects the immediate health and happiness of children but also reverberates into their adult lives, leading to long-lasting consequences. Our comprehensive guide developed by experts aims to provide a detailed insight into the various facets of childhood bullying, equipping parents, guardians and educators with effective strategies for identification, intervention, and prevention, fostering a safer and more supportive environment for children to grow and thrive.
In this guide you will find…
A survey* of schools in 40 different countries found that Australian primary schools have one of the highest bullying rates in the world. Survey results show that 25% of year 4 students are affected by bullying, with the number rising to a shocking 35% in the final two years of primary school.
Considering this, it’s critical we are aware what bullying is, how to recognise it, how to take action and what others can do to act as a ‘bystander’ to an ‘upstander’.
Verbal – including name calling, ignoring, or ridiculing someone.
Physical – poking, hitting, punching, kicking, pushing or destroying someone’s property.
Covert – including lying or spreading rumours, deliberate exclusion from friendship groups, or playing horrible jokes on somebody.
Cyberbullying – using technology to send hurtful messages or pictures on mobile devices, PCs and via social media.
Although bullying is not rare, it is important to acknowledge that some conflicts between children are to be expected. Single episodes of rejection, nastiness, random acts of intimidation, hostility, or mutual disagreements are not considered bullying.
There are, however, some clear signs to recognise if someone is being bullied – mood swings, becoming withdrawn, frequent tears, bursts of anger, unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches, missing or damaged belongings. Other signs could include avoidance of school, a fall in academic results, becoming upset after going online, hiding the computer screen and hiding mobile phones when around other people.
No parent wants their child to experience bullying. With incidences of bullying continuing to increase, being able to identify signs of bullying, will help you to stop it at an early stage.
To help you identify and respond appropriately should your child experience bullying, we have created this handy infographic. Make sure to download, print and display these somewhere you can refer to them quickly and easily when you need to.
“A bystander is a person who has seen another being repetitively hurt by a bully yet stands and watches in silence or simply turns their back on the whole situation.
Even if your child is not experiencing bullying themselves, they can help peers around them who may be experiencing it. Although a bystander is not actively taking part in the bullying, knowing that a friend or peer is being bullied and doing nothing about it can be just as harmful.
The change from bystander to upstander (someone who recognises when something is wrong and acts to make it right), can be a simple one. Speaking to a teacher, school counsellor or trusted adult about what they saw can often be the best first step in stopping the cycle of bullying.”
*Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., & Foy, P. (with Olson, J.F., Preuschoff, C., Erberber, E., Arora, A., & Galia, J.). (2008)
With 1 in 5 Queensland children experiencing bullying each year, it is important for us as parents to understand what bullying is, how to identify the signs that your child is being bullied, and to know how to support your child during this time. Download the infographic below which contains useful information about the different types of bullying.
Has your child been bullied at school?
Bullying affects one in four Australian children. And the impact can be profound, with school bullying described as the single most important threat to the mental health of children and adolescents.
In this Life Education podcast, Dr Karyn Healy chats with host Tracey Challenor about why bullying happens and how to deal with it. A psychologist and researcher at the University of Queensland’s Parenting and Family Support Centre, Dr Healy is also co-author of the world-renowned Resilience Triple P – Positive Parenting Program with Professor Matt Sanders.
She’s also worked extensively with schools, parents and children in preventing and addressing bullying, and resolving conflict.
Dr Healy offers practical advice on how to deal with a tough issue and explains why strong friendships and supportive parenting can help kids rise above playground bullies and establish good coping skills that will last them for life.
The thought of speaking with your children about personal safety may make you feel uncomfortable and it might seem intimidating at first – particularly if you feel you don’t know where to start. However, having these conversations is vital to help keep them safe.
Establishing a relationship of mutual trust and respect with your child, where lines of communication are open and honest, is one of the most powerful tools you as a parent have when it comes to keeping your kids safe.
It’s never too early to start talking to your child about personal safety. Having age-appropriate conversations with children as young as two increases their protective factors and can minimise the risk of harm. It is important to ensure that these conversations are on-going and not a one-off event. Allow time for your child to think over what was discussed then come back with questions at a later date if they need to.
As your child’s understanding and personal safety needs will change over time, creating opportunities for an on-going dialogue will help create an environment where they feel comfortable to initiate conversations and share their concerns.
Children need to know that they have the right to feel safe at all times and that they can come and talk to you about anything that may be on their mind or troubling them.
Here are some simple steps you can take to create a safe space for your child to allow them to feel comfortable sharing with you:
While you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information there is to teach your child, remember that you don’t need to discuss it with them all at once. Talking about personal safety in bite-sized chunks regularly helps to support their learning whilst building your confidence and knowledge at the same time.
We all want our children to stay safe from harm; however, no parent can be with their child every minute of every day. We must, therefore, do our best to empower our children with the skills and knowledge they need to respond safely to difficult situations in the absence of a parent or trusted guardian.
Talking to your child about personal safety can seem daunting to many parents; however, it is important to your child’s health and wellbeing to have these conversations.
There are some very easy steps parents can take to help their child stay safe in a variety of difficult situations. By helping your child to define what ‘safe’ means to them and by learning some simple safety strategies, your child will be better equipped and feel more confident to respond to situations where they feel unsafe. Key personal safety concepts to discuss with your child include:
Remember to also take advantage of teachable moments throughout the day. Repetition is essential to ensure your child retains key concepts, so the more frequently you can repeat this information or practice it, the better!