Our students' wellbeing and a zero-tolerance policy against anykind of bullying whatsoever, is one of the Schools' greatest priorities. This is why we had a number of police from the Children's Protection Unit at the Municipal Police who visited our classrooms and explained to the students in Primary some of the risks of using the Internet and especially Cyberbullying. They also explained what we can do to avoid this and what to do if we notice, or are a victim, of such a situation.
Cyberbullying can take the shape of insults via a mobile phone or offensive posts on social networks or spreading rumours about the victim, to damage their reputation. And as the police explained, the feelings of humiliation are spread to many people on social networks, hundreds of people can read these and posts stay online far longer, which increases the sense of humiliation even more. Its consequences can be devastating in terms of feelings of isolation, loneliness, sadness and anxiety and they reminded us that it is everyone's responsability to prevent, avoid and act in cases of bullying.
Amongst other pieces of advice, the police also warned that on the Internet, nobody is anonymous and spoke of the need to keep access codes secure.And also very importantly, they reminded the children that contacts on the Internet are not always far away and that they may have bad intentions. In the case of blackmail, they also explained, that one must never give in to the wishes of the bully, because the problem, is only going to get worse.
The children were able to ask whatever they wanted to, and they also realised that it is sometimes possible to be hurtful without meaning to be, and that this too, has consenquences. And they also understood that if they witness an act of bullying, they should, always, always, take this to an adult, hold onto whatever proof they have and that if the situation is dangerous, they should go to the police.
This was a necessary and very informative day which raised the children's awareness about the dangers on the Internet and which will help involve them in the fight against bullying. It also very much highlighted our School values.