Four in 10 children have been victim of bullying in past year. [ Irish Independent, by Ralph Riegal, 24/12/2014 ].

The survey comes as the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) said it now hopes all primary schools nationwide will use their anti-bullying education kit.

The ISPCC kit, ‘Shield My School’, helps schools to evaluate the effectiveness of their anti-bullying measures.

Under new Department of Education guidelines, schools need to have anti-bullying policies in place that are regularly assessed as to their effectiveness.

The kit also helps schools to understand the importance of a prompt, effective response to any bullying issues.

The kit is already in use in Dublinand is now being rolled out to schools across Cork.

The ISPCC said it hopes all Irish schools will make use of the kit, which was developed in response to the over 9,000 calls received by the charity in 2012 in relation to bullying.

An ISPCC survey has found that:

* Forty per cent of nine-year-olds had encountered some form of bullying over the previous 12 months.

* Twenty-two per cent of primary schoolchildren said they had been bullied at some time.

* Twenty-six per cent of secondary schoolchildren said they had been bullied or knew someone who had been bullied.

ISPCC volunteer Maggie Mulpeter said it was vital that all interest groups worked together to minimise bullying.

“We believe there is a need for a concerted effort nationwide to work in partnership with schools, parents and communities to reduce incidents of bullying,” she said.

Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly (FG) said the issue of cyber-bullying was now one of the European Parliament‘s policy priorities.

Mr Kelly backs tough new regulation proposals aimed at controlling abusive online content and tightening the responsibilities of website providers.

The proposals will also enhance co-operation between EU member states, given that cyber-bullying is now seen as a cross-border issue.

It is hoped the new regulations can come into force by 2014/15.

The issue of bullying and, in particular, that of cyber-bullying has been highlighted by a number of high-profile tragedies in Ireland.

The deaths of Donegal teen Erin Gallagher (13) and Leitrim teen Ciara Pugsley (15) in 2012 were both linked to sick bullying on the Latvian-based www.ask.fm social media site.

Erin’s sister, Shannon (15), took her own life two months after her sister’s death.

Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, briefly suspended his Twitter account last year after what he described as “depressing” attacks by anonymous internet ‘trolls’.

Stealth Bullies: The Hidden Face of Bullying [ huffingtonpost.com, by Rae Pica, 16/09/2011]

Bullying is one of the biggest issues in education today. There are articles in professional journals and parenting magazines about it. There are news stories, it seems almost weekly, about it. There are websites and organizations dedicated to fighting it. There is plenty of advice about preventing it. There’s even legislation against it. This month, New Jersey passed an anti-bullying law that’s been called the toughest in the nation.

But what if none of it is enough? What if all of it misses the mark? What if preventing bullying is as simple as paying closer attention? The research indicates this may be the case.

Stan Davis, a social worker and school counselor and founder of Stop Bullying Now, was a recent guest on Body, Mind and Child. Joining him for the discussion were Karin Frey, an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, and Sarah Sparks, who pens “Inside School Research” for Education Week and who has written quite a bit about social aggression.

According to the Stop Bullying Now website, there is adult intervention in only 4 percent of bullying incidents. Davis indicated during our conversation that that’s an older statistic but didn’t say whether or not it was now higher. Still, even if it’s, say, 100 percent higher, it’s a startling figure. How could there be so little adult involvement in an issue as huge and as potentially damaging as bullying?

Here are some of the reasons my guests cited:

  • Adults believe kids should solve their own problems.
  • If adults only see it once, they’re not inclined to intervene.
  • Teachers often don’t have a clear procedure to follow.
  • Kids are taught from an early age not to “tattle.” (This helps us understand why two-thirds of children don’t go to adults for help.)

Dr. Frey’s research adds further support to the contention that adults aren’t paying enough attention. She discovered that gossip contributes greatly to bullying and certainly can lead to physical disputes. But her study showed that teachers were unable to identify playground gossip even though it was “semi-public in nature” and gossip sessions lasted quite a while. I asked how that could be. The answer: the gossips are rarely the kids who are problems in class. In other words, they don’t fit most adults’ idea of what a bully “looks like.”

And here was yet another reason why teachers fail to intervene: There’s much confusion about what constitutes bullying. “It’s only bullying if… ” One significant ending to that sentence is “… the behavior is perpetrated by those kids we expect to be bullies.” We don’t imagine that friends would bully each other, but my guests assured me that bullying does indeed occur between and among friends.

Given the amount of attention bullying receives in the media, I thought that everything possible was being done to eradicate this problem. At the very least, I thought that teachers and parents would know it when they saw it. Clearly, I was wrong.

Stan Davis offered this succinct piece of advice for teachers and parents: “If we see mean behavior we should stop it.” But first, of course, we have to see it! For more advice from my guests, click here.

Anti-bullying campaigners in Wales join online ‘march’ [BBC News Wales, 15/11/2010]

Anti-bullying campaigners in Wales are joining a “virtual march” to mark the start of a week highlighting the issue.

The Big March will visit 60 websites such as such as Action for Children, War Child and Girlguiding UK to call for more support for bullying victims.

Campaigner Gemma Lang, who set up an advice site as a teenager, said digital technology allowed “24/7” bullying.

In Conwy, school pupils are being asked to write poems and songs to promote respect and friendship.

Ms Lang, from Caerphilly, who was bullied at school, has relaunched her Full stop 2 bullying website after a bout of ill-health, and said young victims of bullying no longer had the chance to escape it after school.

She said: “The big thing I am seeing now is the bullying online at home and the hate pages being set up. That’s quite an issue.

“I’ve had some people who were being bullied in their school and those people are then going home and seeing [social network] hate pages against them. It was a further extension of the bullying.

“The internet now just seems to have given a platform for bullies to show off what they are doing.

Bullying now is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s quite worrying really.”

One of those embarking the “virtual march” across around 50 websites, calling for help to combat bullying, is martial arts expert Simon Morrell.

He has 30 years’ experience in the martial arts but this year published a book, from Bullied to Black Belt, describing his experiences.

‘Change behaviour’

He said: “I’m supporting the Big March because I believe it’s an innovative and dynamic way to engage young people in preventing bullying, providing support and ensuring more is done to shape attitudes and change behaviour.”

An anti-bullying conference was recently held in Conwy for staff, pupils and governors from all schools.

Head of education services Geraint James said: “To tackle bullying effectively we need to work on a variety of levels.

“All our schools have anti-bullying policies, but to be really effective we need to harness the support of the whole school community including the pupils themselves.

“It is very encouraging to see so many of our schools taking this opportunity to work with pupils to promote respectful and positive relationships and to develop awareness of how we can tackle bullying together.”

Anti-Bullying Week, from 15-19 November, is run by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), a network of more than 70 organisations.