The Christian Social Council (CMR) in Louis Trichardt has urged parents to be on the lookout for signs that their children might be bullied or are bullies at school. Above is the organisation's new logo. Image supplied.
Date: 14 June 2020 By:
Child Protection Week was held from 31 May until 7 June as an annual awareness campaign that commenced in 1997 and is hosted by social workers across the country at schools and within communities.
“This year, it has been impossible for social workers to host the awareness campaigns on school premises, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chantel Steyn, social worker at the Christian Social Council (CMR) in Louis Trichardt.
Despite not being able to visits school, Chantel highlighted the serious issue of bullying in schools.
The definition of the word “bullying” is the use of hurtful words or acts or other behaviour committed by a child or children against another child or children. It can further be described as repeated oppression, either psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person. Three types of bullying exist, namely direct, indirect and cyber bullying.
The most common forms of bullying are the following:
Direct physical bullying (hitting, kicking, pushing), verbal bullying (name-calling, insulting, teasing, gossiping) and emotional bullying (terrorising, yelling, made to feel worthless, blackmailing).
Indirect bullying is mainly verbal, and in cyber bullying technology is instrumental.
According to Chantel, any child can become a victim of bullying, regardless of gender, age, race, religion, or socio-economic status. The causes of bullying are low self-esteem in children who have been bullied and witnessed bullying. The effects of bullying on the victim are insomnia, depression, and poor academic performance, to mention just a few.
The characteristics of perpetrators in school bullying are normally children who are bigger, physically stronger, lack parental supervision, abuse alcohol and drugs, display aggressive and impulsive behaviour, are self-involved, and/or experiencing pleasure in dominating others. Anyone who engages into bullying should take note that doing so is a criminal offence and serious consequences can be suffered when acting out this form of behaviour. Every child has a right to be protected as per the Constitution, the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 and the Children’s Act, no. 38 of 2005. The responsibility lies with teachers, administrators, class representatives and the community at large to protect children from this form of abuse.
How can bullying be overcome? By applying anti-bullying strategies, teachers, administrators, and learners can be assisted to understand what constitutes bullying, identifying these behavioural patterns and being observant on the playground, when children are queuing in line or changing classes. If anyone is aware of bullying, it should be reported to any Child Protection Organization, SAPS or ChildLine at 0800 055 555.
“After reading this article, it is the responsibility of parents to discuss the topic with their children to bring about awareness,” said Chantel.