Erin has been doing drama at school this week and has really enjoyed telling me all about it. They had been acting out being nice to friends in the playground and being respectful to each other. It seems to have been a recurring theme in her lessons this week and it took me a while to realise that we are in Anti Bullying week. As a former teacher and parent I have had many a conversation about bullying and often wonder what the solutions are. This week we have been considering Anti bullying week and what does this mean for online bullying?
It is also something that I have chatted online with bloggers about on many occasions. When your child is being bullied it can seem very easy to be cross that the school doesn’t seem to be doing anything. It can seem like teachers don’t care. When the reality is very different. I have never come across a teacher (or anyone working in a school) that doesn’t care about children’s welfare and children’s happiness. But persistent bullying is such a hard thing to sort out.
There are many friendship fall outs that happen everyday in every playground and there needs to be a distinction between fallouts that are often one off events to a more serious ongoing problem. Once identified as bullying teachers need to work with all the children involved and often their parents too. However sometimes the bullying persists and it is incredibly hard to change. I would urge people to really think about what can be done. If your child is having an ongoing issues with another child it is important that it is dealt with but try to think what solutions you would like and work with the school to see if these can be implemented. Understand there might not be an overnight solution – no matter how much we would want there to be.
This morning I have been involved in a Google hangout with some other bloggers and David from Kaspersky. We were discussing online bullying. We were discussing at what ages we should start having conversations about online safety and shared our experiences. Our discussions were interesting, especially as we had children of varying ages. Kaspersky have carried out research which showed that online bullying is not limited to social media as many would assume. In Fact many younger children need to be taught about cyberbulling. They are also just instant messaging or chat facilities on games aimed at younger children. It was highlighted that parents may not be aware of the chat features in some of these games.
Our shared ideas arising from the discussion:
- Using shared devices in public parts of the house, especially with primary school children. So not in bedrooms
- Having an open dialogue with children like you would with road safety or stranger danger.
- Using age related restrictions on devices, ie turning off chat facilities, not allowing social media until correct age.
- We agreed that we would like to see retailers taking more time to show consumers how to use restrictions.
- Having five adults that you can talk to at anytime about anything you are unhappy with. This can include parents, teacher, family friends, childminders etc. This one I really liked and will be implementing with Erin who is six
- We shared resources like CEOP and Think u know
The internet is an amazing tool and it has changed the world. Our children will be part of this technology and need to learn how to use it in a safe manner. I often say we need to remember that most young people are doing just what we want and consuming the internet how we want but there does need to be things in place for when it does go wrong. I want my children to feel safe, happy and secure and this means teaching them to use the internet in a safe and responsible way.
Disclosure: “I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.