Playground bullying is a tale as old as time. But with the rise of social media, bullying now invades all areas children’s lives.
While the ringing of the school bell at home-time used to bring welcome relief to children being bullied, our interconnected society means the torment can continue through the ringing of mobile phones.
Children being bullied now have no relief from constant intimidation, which can have a serious impact on their mental health.
This is why students at JBCN International School in Mumbai, India, organised an anti-bullying week, which educated children on the different types of bullying, what to do if you are being bullied and how to help someone who is being bullied.
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“A special focus was given to cyberbullying, which in this day and age has become widespread. We told students what was the right use of social media,” Kunal Dalal, managing director of the school, told The Indian Express.
The theme of the week was “All Different, All Equal”. Through a series of workshops, students were empowered to embrace each other’s individualities.
“The idea is to make learners conscious, teach them to be responsible for their choices and to learn to respect and accept each other,” Pinky Dalal, founder of the JBCN International School, told Daily News & Analysis India.
The counselling department planned different activities for Classes 1 to 10. Class 1-5 learned about classroom bullying, Class 6-8 discussed social bullying and Class 9-10 focused on cyberbullying.
Other schools in Mumbai have also engaged with this anti-bullying initiative.
The principal of St Joseph’s School, Kalpana Dwivedi, told The Indian Express: “The involvement of parents in the fight against bullying is crucial. We will bring this to the notice of the parents. A school cannot initiate corporal punishment but can only provide counselling. The parents also have to step in.”
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Podar International School also has in-school counsellors for students to talk to. “The counsellors tell us what bullying is, how to know if certain behaviour is aggressive. We are also taught that every student is different but must be treated equally. Nobody should be made fun of,” said Svar Kamble, a Class IX student of Podar International School, to The Indian Express.
“The primary focus is that students learn to accept their fellow classmates, friends, relatives as they are. We are trying to impart these values through our efforts,” added Dalal.