The Guardian recently reported that more than half of children aged 11 to 16 have been bullied about the way they look, with 40% targeted at least once a week. More than half (53%) of young people who experienced bullying based on their appearance said they had become anxious as a result and 29% had become depressed. One in 10 said they had had suicidal thoughts and 9% that they had self-harmed.
Cai Graham, best-selling author of the TEEN Toolbox™, keynote speaker and permuting expert, specialising in adolescence, has been studying the statistics when it comes to childhood bullying in the UK and has offered her insights into the ways in which we, as parents, can safeguard against it:
“Many parents are able to understand bullying, from their own experiences so they are better prepared to support their children who are under fire. However the goalposts have changed since we were youngsters and thanks to the advancement in technology the bullies can now hide behind their anonymity … enter the new phenomenon Cyber Bullying.
“Girls are more prone to cyber bullying. 36% of girls have reported being cyber-bullied compared to 26% of boys. 83% of those bullied online have also been bullied in person. 41% of kids being cyberbullies have gone on to develop social anxiety.”
So how can parents support their children?
“The struggles are real. Problems arise when their teenagers are reluctant to admit that they have a problem to begin with.
10 ways to Support your Child who is being bullied
- Recognise the signs
- Be Empathetic
- Remain Calm
- Ask Open Questions
- Build Self Esteem
- Keep a record of events
- Avoid Judgement
- Do not Over-react
- Offer Guidance
- Set Boundaries
10 ways for a child to safeguard against cyber-bullying
- Do not Retaliate
- Ask Posts to be removed
- Untag Photos if possible
- Report to the School
- Report to the appropriate site
- Block the Sender
- Keep copies
- Do Not Reply
- Change IDs and Passwords
- Depending on severity – involve the Police.
Read our article on how treating can help your child reduce stress.