Children as young as five are being bullied in ever increasing numbers, according to a children’s charity.
By Katie Lyons and Zoe Merry
Kidscape, a charity that supports children who are affected by bullying, claims that networking and social media are putting pressure on youngsters and creating fractures in social circles even in primary school years.
Rosie White,16, knows what this is like as a victim of primary school bullying. She suffered from the age five due to being teased for having gay parents and her best friend, Jess Grey killed herself in February due to cyber bullying on Facebook.
National Anti-Bulling week takes place from 12-15th November with the theme of ‘choose respect’.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC (centres for disease control). The website states that for every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
“Now I’ve left school I’ve got out of it”
Rosie White was bullied throughout her school life. She said “When I first started primary school I was walking in with both my dads and everyone just laughed and started bullying me from there.” Poor pastoral care facilities meant that she received very little support and felt that her situation was worsened by turning to authority.
Due to her two parents being of the same sex, she was told she was “not going to grow up to be a normal person” and that she overheard parents calling her an “abnormal child”.
Miss White believes the school environment cultivated bullying, and that she has escaped bullying since leaving education.
Not only did she experience it herself, but bullying has also affected her in other ways. She said “I lost my best friend in February due to her being bullied online by our peers who didn’t like her taste in music. The bullying just pushed her over the edge”.
Charities such as Kidscape are helping children cope with bullying by providing an advice line. They also run programmes for teachers and supply advice for parents or guardians to figure out how to communicate effectively with their schools.
Zoe Williams, Communications Manager for Kidscape stated “The thing we’ve really noticed is that we are hearing from parents of younger and younger children. We are beginning to provide more support for ages 5-8 because bullying does seem to be happening at primary school now more than ever before.”
She believes that programmes such as national Anti-Bullying Week are encouraging a shift away from dealing with bullying as “something every child should be going through” and instead tackling the problem in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Children from schools across Leeds, such as Moortown Primary and Carr Manor Primary, are partaking in ‘Odd Socks Day’ which is held by the Anti Bullying Association on the first day of the week. The odd socks bring scheme is a way to bring a bit of fun to anti-bullying and collect a pound from every child to donate to a range of supporting charities.
Miss Williams went on to explain that ” what social media does is it means the bullying a child experiences does not end at the school gates, it follows them home. Cyber bullying is one of the easiest ways to become affected by bullies.”
According to a survey ran by The Independent, one in four children under the age of six has a smartphone. An ever digitalised world has encouraged cyber bullying in schools and it is now a prevalent problem.