Anti-Bullying Week Series: Why do children bully?

15 to 19 November is the Anti-Bullying Week 2021, an annual event in the UK to raise awareness of bullying of children and young people. One of the key campaigns for this week-long event is the Odd Socks Day in which children and adults go to school or work in odd socks with the aim to highlight everyone’s uniqueness and help prevent bullying.


It is always heart-breaking to hear the issue of bullying happening around us. Let’s think more about this widespread problem.


According to research conducted by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), 30% of children have been bullied last year alone. Of these, 17% of the victims have been bullied online. This indicates that approximately one child in every classroom experiencing bullying every day. Isn’t it a serious issue to be tackled?


There are many forms of bullying and the main types happened to our youngsters are:

· Verbal bullying: saying inappropriate things that hurt someone intentionally, for example, name calling, teasing, making threats, and sexual joking.

· Social bullying: destroying someone’s social relationships and reputation, for example, isolating, spreading rumours, and embarrassing someone in public.

· Physical bullying: causing physical harm by violence.

· Cyberbully: in today’s digital world, of course, it is easy to bully others online, for example, uploading embarrassing photos and videos on social media, leaving negative comments and insults, and unfriending others.


So, why do children bully usually?

· Emotional relief: when they fail to appropriately address their negative emotions such as anger, insecurity, powerless and low self-esteem, they may then mistake bullying behaviours for the ways to get attention, to dominate, and to release rage and fear.

· A lack of understanding of differences: it is common for minority groups to be bullied. For example, those who have different ethnicity, appearance, sexual orientation and religion could be perceived to be weird by their peers who do not accept differences.

· Learned behaviour: if children are unfortunately being bullied by their family or peers, the traumatic experiences could become a learned behaviour that cause them to act violently as an aggressor.

· Invisible online: the ability to remain anonymous on the internet makes young people feel that they can say any humiliating and hostile comments online without responsibility.


We all agree that bullying, especially cyberbullying, is a serious threat. This does not only happen to young people, but also among adults. So, we will share with you all about the impacts and possible solutions in upcoming articles. Stay tuned!


**If your child is experiencing bullying or just wants someone to talk to, they can contact Childline, Samaritans, or of course, our safeguarding lead, Dr Li Foster.**