Bullying in the playground and at work. 16 July 2015, 0 Comments

Technology in the new millennium has afforded the world many benefits but it has also opened up a plethora of other problems as well for young people that must deal with a new type of attacks on their self-esteem and value: bullying has reared its ugly head with ease on social media. For parents of children, it is one of the greatest hurdles to raising them today; for schools, it is a problem that poses a challenge as the laws and ways to prevent it are new and constantly on the upgrade as more is known about the epidemic. With social media both a help and hindrance to the world at large, the way in how we raise and nurture our children, as well as protect them, has become one of the most important issues affecting schools and playgrounds worldwide.  The apparel industry is no different from any other industry in this respect and for all its glamour the runway can be an unpleasant and unforgiving environment.

An Epidemic Of Great Magnitude

According to confirmed sources, nearly one-third of all students from kindergarten through to high school have suffered some form of bullying. The type of bullying ranges from name-calling to more serious physical fights. Whether physical or emotional, the repercussions of bullying can be far-reaching and sometimes permanent. According to medical experts that have studied the effects of bullying for years, it has been reported that students that are bullied are much more likely to engage in acts of violence and bring weapons to school. Additionally, they are far more prone to depression, health issues, and mental problems. Conversely, they suffer as students, learning at a slower rate than their peers (especially minority students) and further evidence states that schools with higher incidences of bullying have an overall student body that scores worse on standardized tests than schools with a more supportive environment. With all of these issues at play, it has become even more important to be able to recognize bullying as it occurs and if possible, prevent it before it even begins.

The Building Blocks to Identifying and Eradicating Bullying

All students should be able to learn in environments where they feel safe. When children are nurtured in schools and safeguarded on the playgrounds, they become better students and people all around, even more of an incentive to protect children from the dangers of bullying. One of the first lines of defense to prevent bullying is knowing the students in question. By knowing them personally, both schools and parents are able to better assess how to handle a potential situation once it occurs, and preferably beforehand. There are also several strategies that have been cultivated to combat bullying. In many instances, the same programs that effectively fight against substance abuse and violence can aid in decreasing the amount of bullying in schools and playgrounds. Finding out how often bullying actually occurs in schools can be one of the most important ways to know how effective an anti-bullying campaign can be and what further steps, if necessary, to take to ensure that prevention continues to occur.

Guidelines to Aid Teachers Against Bullying

Since bullying in its current new form is a fairly new area, to combat it requires a change in cultural attitudes to be most effective. Even the best laid plans take time to make an impact, but already there are many steps that both parents, teachers, and parental figures can use to began to turn the tide against bullying.

Listen, Reflect, Respond

School leaders and parents can first begin to be a beacon for change by taking a proactive role through listening to their students, processing the information, and then reflecting before making a decision on how to best change the status quo. Principals at schools should also make their staff feel comfortable enough to voice any issues that are occurring in their classrooms and maintaining an open door policy. This is by far one of the most effective ways to keep bullying at bay and encourage both teachers and students to connect more for the greater good of classrooms and schools at large.

Assessing the Damage

Before action can be taken, both faculty and parents need to know the extent of the actual bullying, what has transpired, as well as other logistical concerns to effectively implement preventative measures. Studies have shown that schools that thwart bullying the best are those that have discovered the best ways to quickly survey the issue at hand, and then act quickly to provide assistance before the problem spreads.

Implementing a Code of Conduct

Institutions should have a clear set of guidelines for their students to adhere to, delineating what is acceptable behavior and what is clearly a breach of school policy. Once students are well-versed in what is expected of them in class and on the playgrounds, they are more likely to report any inappropriate behavior to their teachers.

The Visibility of Parental Figures

Students that have a certain amount of adult supervision are less likely to bully their peers as most of these incidents occur in their absence. This means that schools should not only have teachers in classrooms, but also a presence in the hallways, stairwells, locker rooms, buses, and playgrounds of their campus.

Educate Students Via Anti-Bullying Activities

Effective anti-bullying campaigns involve students as much as possible through large-scale group meetings that reinforce school policies, highlight any areas that need room for improvement, and giving student bodies the sense of community necessary to feel secure enough to report any abuse against them whether verbal or physical. When students are consistently reminded of how hurtful and long-lasting the effects of bullying are, they are far less likely to inflict it on their peers as studies have shown.

Parents Play an Important Role

Many studies have shown that the reason bullies attack their peers is because of problems that often begin at home. As such, schools must communicate with parents to be active in the lives of their children once they leave the school campus. Effective campaigns against bullying include establishing safety committees in which teachers and parents meet regularly to lay out a plan that addresses any concerns that may arise and how to evaluate them once they arise.

Guidelines to Aid Parents Against Bullying

Arguably the most effective component against bullying starts at home with parents, who usually have a more thorough connection with their children than anyone else in the world. Since research indicates that bullies are bred at home, as the result of abusive parents. Therefore the role of supportive, loving parents in the equation cannot be underestimated. For those children that are bullies and use schools as a way to release their anger, parents that are dedicated to sanctity of their children should also be able to notice the warning signs in their children’s friends as well. The adage ‘it takes a village’ is one that rings true when it comes to the welfare of children’s right to an environment that is not abusive in any way, shape, or form.

Interact with Your Children

Parents that keep abreast of what is occurring in the everyday lives of their children are effectively keeping bullying at bay by knowing about their daily activities. Parents should take time aside each day to ask their children about their peers, their students, the environment, and any other events or issues that may be occurring at any given time in their lives. Children that feel comfortable enough to share with their parents are more likely to report any problems that may arise - including bullying – and therefore maintain their emotional and physical well-being.

Participation in School Functions

The everyday lives of parents these days are more hectic than any other generation, yet it has been proven that parents that take a more active role at their children’s school are better able to gauge the progress of their children and notice any potential emotional problems that could be the result of bullying. Many schools have committees and organizations on campus that look for parents to get their input on how to protect their children from the dangers of bullying and a multitude of other issues that young people face.

Children often emulate what they see and hear, and that usually comes first through parental figures. Parents that are abusive many times pass these habits on to their children, with the repercussions affecting everyone in their community in some way. Parents that strive to set great examples for their kids in the end nurture children that are well-balanced and better able to navigate their way through school and through life.

Empathy as a Tool

The younger parents start to engage their children, the better results they will yield. When kids are taught at a young age that is not acceptable to taunt and tease others, to treat everyone with mutual respect, and to empathize with others from all walks of life, they are more likely to follow these guidelines and incorporate them into their own young lives.

The Dictionary of Anti-Bullying

Children should be taught at the youngest age possible the exact meaning of what bullying is, how to define it, and how to counteract it in order to protect them in the future. They must known succinctly what it looks like in order to be able to report it to parents and teachers alike.

Final Considerations

The anti-bullying message is something that we at Dimity Bourke feel strongly about.  Not only are we employers but we are parents.  We have two young girls ourselves and see the damage that can be caused in the playground and at school when comments are made and feelings hurt.  Working in the fashion and apparel industry with our girls wear collections and with designer women's wear, we know these young children grow up and take the examples that they have learned and witnessed with them into adolescence and then adulthood. When working with young child models it is important to us that we both nurture their talent and help to educate them as they head out into the world.

We realize the serious issues facing children in this current advent of technology and we have committed ourselves to not only providing beautiful clothes that celebrate women and children but also diversity and individuality. Incorporating our core values and beliefs with the help of our extensive network of children and parents, working with children's charities such as the New York Foundling we strive to utilise our knowledge and position to help others. We believe at Dimity Bourke change begins in them home, then extends outwards. Embrace your children, support them every step of the way, and they will grow up to be shining lights, reflections of those that helped them along the way.