City Observer Newsletter 8 October 2015

The findings of a survey of students in eighty Australian schools on wellbeing and bullying was discussed in the recent Sydney Morning Herald’s Weekend edition, and its Editorial. The bullying in the survey was in many forms, from dirty looks to being threatened or humiliated. Children can be excluded from a social group, gossiped about, or targeted online in social media. One in five Years 4 to 6 students reported that they are bullied at least once each week, and that they have headaches to sleeplessness as a result. These findings are disturbing. Disadvantaged children or those with disability are more likely to be bullied. The Editorial asserts that schools should have programs and curriculum content aiming for bullying prevention, they should respond quickly to reports of bullying and keep parents updated about such matters. The Editorial comments: “Parents need to talk with their children about what friendship means, they need to urge their children to have broad friendship circles…outside school, and encourage them to focus on their strengths. They need to lead by example, and support their children. Schools are working hard to combat bullying but as this research shows, bullying remains a serious problem…and as bullies find new ways to target vulnerable peers, schools need to adapt to an age-old issue that is constantly finding new forms of expression.”

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