In 2019, UNESCO Member States declared the first Thursday of November as the International Day Against Violence and Bullying at School Including Cyberbullying. They recognize school-related violence in all its forms as an infringement of children and adolescents’ rights to education and to health and well-being.
There are significant negative effects of this kind of violence, including on academic achievement, mental health, and quality of life in general. Children who are frequently bullied are nearly three times more likely to feel like an outsider at school and more than twice as likely to miss school as those who are not frequently bullied. As a result, they have worse educational outcomes than their peers.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, shared a message on the occasion, “Let us hope that this first International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, including Cyberbullying, will build global awareness about the scale of the problem, and of the need to put an end to it as soon as possible. As students, parents, members of the educational community and ordinary citizens, we have all a part to play in stopping violence and bullying in schools.”
In several studies, it has been seen that over 40% of kids in Indian schools are bullied yearly. On the other hand, cyberbullying cases have risen to an extent that India is in the list of top 10 (according to a report by NITI Aayog) for a number of children here get cyber-bullied. These are certainly not the categories our nation would want to succeed in, hence this topic requires more attention from everyone including school administration, policymakers as well as parents.
Apart from this, students need to be vigilant of bullies and parents need to listen and believe their children when they come up to them with such complaints. But most importantly, education institutes and educators need to look out for their precious wards so as to keep them safe.
To educate students about the ill effects of bullying, you can:
In these COVID times, since the screentime has comparatively increased for children, the risk of cyberbullying has increased, too. Thankfully, strict measures and safety precautions are now taken to avoid such cases, for example, the Indian Government has come up with cybersecurity handbook in 2020 to make cyberspace safer for the young generation.
The infamous Instagram ‘Locker Room’ incident was one such cyberbullying episode which luckily came under the radar and eventually got analysed by the professionals. But there have been times when incidents like these go unnoticed. Here are some ways to recognize a bully that educators may keep an eye for physically and/or educate the children about:
We agree that it can be really frustrating as an educator to always be on a lookout but that’s when spreading awareness by recognising such dates becomes important. Here’s to hoping for a better and safer future of our children!
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