Efforts to help combat bullying [IrishExaminer.com, by Sean O’Riordan, 26/10/10]

AN escalation of child bullying, including cyber-bullying, has prompted the Social and Health Education Project (SHEP) in Cork to organise a course for parents.

The long-established Cork-based training organisation is offering an evening course to support parents and help them to help their children.

According to SHEP the escalation of bullying in both primary and secondary schools in recent years is compounded by the onset of cyber-bullying.

Statistics show that one in five second-year girls has been cyberbullied, and one in four has received threatening phone calls.

Although a recent EU survey found that in Ireland the percentage of children who had experienced cyber-bullying was amongst the lowest of the 23 countries polled, at 4%, the anecdotal evidence presents a very real concern to parents.

Kerri FitzGerald, training and development worker with SHEP, said the organisation runs courses for parents on a number of different issues.

“So we are well-placed to work with them on the issue of bullying. Discovering they are not alone with their problems and the power of working in a small group can bring great strength to people,” Ms FitzGerald said.

Bullying can have serious long-term effects both for those who are victims of bullying and for those who behave in a bullying manner.

SHEP’s course for parents is designed to help them become more aware of the issues involved in bullying, and more able to offer helpful support to their children. It also gives them the chance to explore what they can do to help lessen bullying in their community.

Any parents who would like to hear more about the course, which starts in early November, can contact The Social and Health Education Project on (021) 4666180.