In the UK alone, 45% of young people experience bullying before the age of 18. Studies have found that adults who experienced bullying as children are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with serious health problems, while often having lower academic qualifications and earning less money.
This week is Anti-Bullying Week, organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA). After a consultation with 800 children and teachers, the theme this year is “Choose Respect”.
“Bullying is a behaviour choice, and children and young people can set a positive example by opting to respect each other at school, in their homes and communities, and online,” says the ABA.
Respect is not the same as being friends with everyone, admiring them, or agreeing with everything they say. It simply means treating someone with dignity and equality, as a whole human being whose feelings matter as much as yours do. Not having respect for others is what can lead to bullying.
If anyone you know is being bullied or has been bullied, try to get them to talk to a teacher or a loved one about their situation. They could also try contacting Childline at 0800 1111.
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- Write as many positive messages as you can to members of your class. Try to make sure everyone is involved; everyone deserves to feel appreciated.
- Without looking it up in a dictionary, write your own definition of the word “respect”. Compare your thoughts to others in your class.
- In groups, create an anti-bullying campaign for your school. Think about the message you want to send, and how to get it across effectively.