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The Childcare and Protection Agency of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is collaborating with the United Bridge Builders Mission (UBBM) on an anti-bullying campaign. The campaign which was launched on Friday under the theme, ‘do good, be good, live good,’ aims to stop this violence among young people.
The launch followed anti-bullying training with children from several state care homes that included 93 children from the Sophia Children and Family and the Mahaica Care Center. Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the UBBM, Bonita Montaque, expressed her satisfaction with the completion of the training and the impact the anti-bullying training had on the children.
Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, said “this is public awareness so that people understand what bullying is and also the launch of a national campaign against bullying. Several activities are expected to be rolled out as the Minister acknowledged the cessation of bullying requires all hands-on deck.
Bullying is socially unacceptable. Combating the scourge also includes encouraging children to act consistent with a social order that eschews such behaviour in public and private spaces. Children learn by example and their environments, in the home and wider society, impact their behaviour.
Within recent time school children have taken to recording acts of violence (verbal, physical and emotional) inflicted on the other, sharing them via their phones, Instagram and other social media platforms. Some have stood on and watched others being bullied as some cheered the bullies. Bullying has serious implications for a child’s development.
Research has shown if a child finds acceptance among his peers, the school environment could encourage learning and productivity. Conversely if a child finds rejection (e.g., bully victim) or displayed unacceptable behavior (e.g., the bully) the environment could adversely impact the child development and consequence association.
The Minister has said those identified for training in the anti-bullying campaign will be drawn from organisations, communities, and individuals with an interest. The minister also made known that she has agreed to the request made by the children to ensure other children in state care have equal access to opportunities as any other child and committed to put arrangements in place to make it possible.
Bullying in Guyana’s schools is not confined to any socio-economic category, ethnicity, or demographic area. It is widespread and important to accept this fact and develop a national strategy that leaves none out or behind. Bullying whether coming from the well or least well off is wrong and deserving of intervention.
In the 21st century bullying is no longer traditional i.e., physical, verbal or relational aggression, but has expanded to cyber i.e., use of digital devices such as phone, tablet and computer, and the two types of bullying could overlap. Research has also shown both the bully and bullied are likely to deal with psychosocial issues such as anxiety, suicide, school avoidance, low social skills, impaired thought function, social judgement, decision-making, among others.