One in 10 students has missed school due to bullying

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

A quarter of children say they are bullied at least once a week and one in 10 has missed school as a result.

Research published to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week this week calls for action from technology companies, government and schools.

It is based on a survey of more than 1,000 students aged 11 to 16 which found that 24 per cent had been bullied at least once a week during the last six months.

Three per cent – which equates to one child in every classroom – said they are bullied every day.

As a result, 11 per cent said they had missed school due to bullying, 14 per cent had changed their route to and from school, and 19 per cent have avoided friends.

The bullying took place mainly in school (83 per cent), although a quarter of incidents (26 per cent) happened on the way to and from school and a third took place online (30 per cent).

The title of the research report – Change starts with us – is the same as the theme for this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, which concludes tomorrow, Friday, November 15.

It sets out several concrete actions that young people would like to see to prevent and tackle bullying.

For schools, the report says records should be kept of how much bullying is taking place and more should be done to understand the “hotspots” where bullying is more likely to happen, such as the journey to and from school.

For social media and online gaming companies, young people say that children’s default privacy settings should be put on the highest level. There should also be more clarity about the behaviour that is acceptable on the platforms and companies must become “being better and more consistent when handling reports of bullying and removing harmful content”.

Government and Parliamentarians, meanwhile, should act as role models in how they treat each other, the young people said. More training and resources for schools should also be funded.

The Change starts with us theme for Anti-Bullying Week aims to encourage schools, parents and young people to have conversation about the impact of our words and promotes acts like stopping before hitting “like” on a hurtful social media post in a bid to reduce bullying behaviours.

Young people in the survey felt that social media and gaming platforms (76 per cent) and schools (48 per cent) need to do more to change the way they address bullying.

Martha Evans, director of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which runs Anti-Bullying Week, said: “If one in 10 children have reported missing school because of bullying, we clearly have a problem. To turn this around, it’s important to bear in mind that everyone has a part to play in reducing and stemming the impact of bullying.

“We must work together to avoid the long-term impact that bullying can have on young people. Of course, that means change on a national scale – for example, improving support online or conducting research – but it’s also about the everyday actions that each of us can take to help someone who is suffering because of bullying. That’s the idea behind Change starts with us.”


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