Anti-bullying week: Change Starts With Us report highlights a call for action from young people

Children and teenagers around the country have voiced their thoughts on what should be done to tackle bullying as research reveals one in 10 miss school because of bullying

ANTI-BULLYING WEEK: New research reveals the extent of the issue in schools

ONE IN 10 children have missed school due to bullying, according to new research.

The Change Starts With Us report by The Anti Bulling Alliance in collaboration with O2 has enabled young people to voice their concerns about bullying in schools.

The findings highlight that there are many significant changes that need to be made to tackle bullying in schools.

The survey of over 1,000 11 to 16-year-olds shows the scale of bullying that children are experiencing on a day-to-day basis, with nearly a quarter (24 per cent) saying they have been bullied once a week or more during the last six months. Nearly one child in every classroom (three per cent) said they are bullied every day.

The report has also highlighted that the bullying does not halt after the school bell rings with 30 per cent of children stating that they get bullied online. Social media platforms bring added pressures for many children and teenagers today and give the bullies access to them, even when they are in their own homes.

Children have gone to great lengths to avoid bullies outside of school as nearly one in five (19 per cent) have steered clear of spending time with friends.

Martha Evans, director of the Anti-Bullying Alliance and National Children’s Bureau member said: “Through the publication of our ‘Change Starts With Us’ report, young people can be a catalyst for a change in the way we address bullying both face to face and online. We must work together to avoid the long-term impact that bullying can have on young people.”

Ann Pickering, chief HR officer, chief of staff and chair of responsible Business Taskforce, O2, echoed Evans: “Working collaboratively is the only way we’re going to tackle bullying, and we’re urging everyone from parents, young people and educators, to government, media, influencers and other tech companies to join the discussion, and make a commitment to change.”

Young people have provided a number of suggestions about how we can come together to tackle this issue moving forward. Over three quarters of children (76 per cent) agreed that social media and online gaming companies should set children’s default privacy settings to the highest level.

Children and teenagers also said that media and influencers should use their power responsibly and portray real life rather than an ideal; and that parents and carers should attempt to understand the technology that children use, and take time to listen to children; and that government and parliamentarians should act as role models in how they treat each other, and fund more training for schools.

The survey’s respondents also had some suggestions for their own generation, too. They said children and young people should think about the impact of their words and actions.

Anti-bullying Week is celebrated in schools across England from November 11-15. Today, November 12, children have across the country have worn an array of coloured socks for Odd Socks Day, which celebrates the beauty of being unique.

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