The problem of bullying has long been a serious issue, but in recent years advances in technology have significantly changed the nature of bullying among children. Whereas once bullying was predominantly an issue during the school day and with a generally small reach, mobile phones and the internet have made it possible for bullies to reach their victims 24 hours a day, and to broadcast incidents to a larger online audience. The most recent investigations into bullying have revealed four main types:
Physical – for example, hitting, kicking, shoving, theft
Emotional – for example, isolating an individual from activities/games and the social acceptance of their peer group
Verbal – for example, threats, name calling, racist or homophobic remarks
Cyber bullying – the misuse of new technology to bully others – for example, bullying via text messages or the internet
Some forms of bullying may involve criminal activity and should be reported to the police. These include:
Hate crimes: incidents based on race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, disability, or any other protected characteristic.
Violence or assault
Repeated harassment or intimidation such as threats or abusive phone calls, emails, or text messages
By law, all schools must have an acceptable behaviour policy in place, and this must be made available to pupils and parents. School staff are also bound by law to protect pupils from discrimination, harassment, and victimisation at school.