Bullying Is Not Just Something That Goes on in the School Yard; Vikki Butler Is Senior Research and Policy Officer within the Research and Policy Unit at Barnardo's Cymru. She Leads in the Policy Areas of Education and Diversities and Her Current Research Includes Anti-Bullying Practice and Bullying Experiences in Wales

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Byline: Vikki Butler

NOVEMBER 19 marks the start of anti-bullying week in Wales. Many schools will be undertaking assemblies and classroom activities to support their anti-bullying policies and curriculum teaching.

But what do children and young people say about bullying and what do they think can really help them to stand up to bullying? Barnardo's Cymru research involves talking to children and young people about the complex nature of bullying.

Children and young people have described how being bullied affects their confidence, ability to learn and friendships. Bullying has other devastating impacts, such as influencing decisions regarding what subjects to study, causing young people to avoid certain areas at weekends and stopping children and young people from going out to play or taking part in leisure activities.

Technology can add to this relentlessness, with constant texting and messaging making the child or young person feel attacked within their own home. Young people rely on phones and social media to arrange their socialising with friends and to avoid using them is to face complete social isolation. Children and young people talk about the helplessness and guilt they feel when witnessing bullying. They face the difficulty of not joining in with bullying behaviours, of not wanting to walk by, but not knowing how to speak out. There is also the sometimes uncomfortable fact that bullies also need support - some will describe how they were joking and did not realise that the joke had become sinister.

Some talk of a sense of instant power followed by guilt. …