Introducing 'The Bully Bot', an effective way of identifying and addressing bullying in UK schools and providing support to its victims.
Bullying is causing distress to the lives of so many children and young people all around the world. As the modern world has developed, new forms of bullying have come to light, making it even easier for bullies to target their victims both inside and outside of school. A staggering 45% of young people experience bullying before the age of 18 and the impact this bullying can have on its victims is horrifying. 83% of young people say that bullying has had a negative impact on their self esteem, making them anxious, less confident and sad. The effects of bullying don't just stop at that either; there are many long term effects of bullying. Those who have been bullied are more than twice as likely to have difficulty in keeping a job or commiting to saving compared to those not involved in bullying. This demonstrates the significant and long lasting damage that bullying can cause its victims, their future and their lives.
Identifying that bullying, therefore, is critical in minimising or avoiding the negative effects on its victims. Many victims are reluctant to tell someone that bullying is going on because they are afraid of the consequences. I was petrified that the bullies would find out I had told a teacher or my parents and that the bullying would only get worse as a result and I'm not along in thinking this; I was also scared to talk about it to teachers because I knew i would get upset and I was worried that I would cry infront of them and how embarrassing that would make me feel. I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to answer question after question. I didn't want to have to relive what the bullies had been doing to me for weeks. I, very simply, just wanted it to stop. Having access to a website or phone app that allowed me to report the bullying would have made such a difference. I would have felt able to report it straight away and that would have saved me weeks of distress.
38% of victims believe that their school doesn't take bullying seriously and many children, young people and parents feel that schools don't know how best to tackle bullying and address what is going on. Bully Bot seeks to change this. Not only will Bully Bot provide tailored support, advice and guidance to victims and a reporting feature making it easier to report incidents of bullying, but Bully Bot will work with schools that sign up to the programme, sharing lesson plans and resources that can be used to develop pupil and staff awareness and understanding of bullying and what they can do about it and teaching practitioners on the Bully Bot team will help schools to develop robust anti-bullying policies that will address bullying and make a difference.