ONE-IN-FOUR children will fall victim to it, yet there is no set solution. With anti-bullying day yesterday, Kids Helpline has warned the sheer number of ways bullying can occur is causing serious mental health issues for children of all ages. As technology continues to play an ever-increasing role in children’s daily lives, cyberbullying is becoming more common. Kids Helpline is a free 24/7 counselling service and it has described today’s version of bullying through social media such as Facebook and Instagram as more sinister and damaging than any other. But headspace’s Sandi Winner finds various forms of bullying impacts children differently and all types could have detrimental effects. The national youth mental health foundation’s community development lead does have a few suggestions when it comes to social media. “Try and limit technology in the bedroom, especially for under 16s,” Ms Winner said. She said it decreased the potential for cyberbullying and ensured children received more sleep. “When you close the door with face-to-face bullying for the day, it’s over,” Ms Winner said. “Whereas with cyberbullying it’s 24/7.”
She advises parents to encourage their children to “have open communication” with them. For National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, Kids Helpline has revealed the organisation last year received more than 700,000 direct contacts and links to self-help activities from children and young people. Kids Helpline general manager Wendy Protheroe said the most downloaded topics from the service’s website were about cyberbullying and bullying.”One-in-four children in Australia will experience some form of bullying, and it’s important we undertake both preventative measures to stop it happening and also offer support to kids dealing with the problem,” she said.
This article first appeared NewsMail, 21March 2015.