A recent survey administered to children aged 8-12 found that 9% of Maltese children do not feel safe at school. Further research highlighted that nearly one in five ( 19.1%) students reported being seriously bullied at school, and verbal and physical bullying, being left out, being ignored and cyberbullying were the most frequently reported. Besides the immediate possible physical harm, bullying also causes psychological, social and emotional harm, which are harder to assess and have potential long-term consequences. Victims of bullying are at increased risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and a variety of psychosomatic complaints such as headaches and general physical malaise. School-based bullying causes educational harm and poor school adjustment, possibly impacting on early school dropouts and future career prospects. Like traditional forms of bullying, cyber bullying is associated with emotional distress and behavioural problems at school and generally high levels of anxiety which may lead to social problems. For example, young people who are victims of internet harassment are significantly more likely than those who had not been victimised electronically to use alcohol and other drugs, receive school detention and suspension, skip school, and experience in-person victimisation. Research shows that in many ways cyber bullying may be even more harmful than ordinary bullying – it occurs within a person’s home and with today’s technology and easy access to the Internet, it can take place 24/7.
The Together against Bullying Project:
Bullying in its various forms is a real issue that needs to be tackled in a nationwide effort. VSM’s ‘Together against Bullying’ Project (January – April 2016) aimed to raise awareness about bullying and educate the public around the phenomenon. The project aimed at reaching different players – not just victims and potential victims themselves but also, very importantly, teachers, parents and peers. For this reason, it involved not only a media and awareness-raising campaign, but also teacher trainings, parental workshops, presentations during school assembly /classroom activities for students. A core element of the campaign was the #SWAP strategy (Say Stop and NO; Walk Away; Adult Engagement; Peer Support), intended as a practical tool for victims and bystanders to respond to bullying situations. By engaging a variety of actors, VSM sought to provide a holistic and well-rounded program.
Interested in our training materials? We have resources for primary and secondary school children, parents and teachers. Please get in touch on [email protected] for more information.
Check out our anti-bullying videos below. Click here to watch them in Maltese.