Is your child being bullied?
No parent wants to hear that their child is the victim of bullying. However, statistics show that one in every three children is bullied so unfortunately it is something that we need to be aware of.
Bullying is a subject close to my heart because, in my early teenage years (and like many girls that age) I was bullied at school so I know firsthand that it's not something that you easily forget.
All of which means that when I was recently invited to visit Britain's leading anti-bullying charity, Beat Bullying, it was enlightening and hugely heartening to hear about the support they have made available to help children who are experiencing bullying in all its many forms.
Beat Bullying is unique. It trains up young people aged between 11 and 17 to mentor bullied children online. These young mentors receive a two day training which give them the skills to help bullied children by chatting to them online and helping them to deal with what is happening to them. All calls are monitored by qualified counsellors between 8am-2am every day and they use leading child protection software that flags up any predatory or abusive behaviour.
The amazing thing is that there are already 8000 children on the waiting list to become cyber mentors. So, in a society which often criticizes children and young people, we have thousands of teenagers who are ready to give up their free time to help others.
All children know that if they are being bullied, they should tell a trusted adult. But what if you don't think that what is happening to you is actually bullying?
My bullying story is that I was often prevented from sitting with my ?friends' at lunch. I wasn't invited to join them on playdates or for birthday parties. I was laughed at because of my choice of clothes. In retrospect, it doesn't sound like much but when you are an 11 year old girl, this sort of relentless low-level "teasing" and exclusion can really make your life miserable. Despite that, I never thought that it was so bad that it warranted telling an adult.
If I'd had the Beat Bullying mentoring system, I would have had a place to discuss what was happening with a peer which might have helped me recognise what was happening as emotional abuse and given me ways to deal with it.
Please have a look at Beat Bullying's website and see the amazing work it does. www.beatbullying.org