Anyone who works in schools, with youth groups or around young people will know that the levels of bullying in the UK are shockingly high. A recent survey found that 34% of young people (12-20 years old) have done something purposely to upset somebody. Now, this won’t always constitute as bullying but the old adage that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me’ is quite simply rubbish.
More than half of young people have been bullied at some point and for 20% of those, it was at least once a week. With more than a third of young people admitting to saying something nasty to someone online, you might think that the solution is to make cyberbullying illegal. However, the reality is that making cyberbullying illegal would be both difficult to implement, hard to police and not really addressing the root cause.
Whether a young person bullies online or in school, they are still bullying an individual and we need to get smarter at how we resolve this. If you ask young people how to combat bullying, working in schools and educating young people about the effects is more often than not the preferred solution.
What would be more effective than making cyberbullying illegal would be providing more resources for schools to bring in organisations to work with young people on the impact bullying can have and ways of gaining support when they are being bullied. Obviously, bullying isn’t an exclusive issue for young people – as it happens right through society – but if you want to tackle this issue long term, then it is something which has to begin at an early age.