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The Blurred Lines of Bullying

29th Apr 2021

With our children once again in face to face education, we are again faced with the challenges that accompany that. Bullying in all its various forms takes place on the playground and face to face bullying, despite the noticeable increase in online bullying, remains the largest form of bullying being reported to us. Keeping our children safe and protecting them is, for parents, our top priority and yet when it comes to their experiences at the hands of others within school and youth settings, we find ourselves feeling helpless to assist.

What we are noticing however, is an ever-increasing blurring of the lines between home and school brought about by the changes in usage of digital devices over lockdown. So, for example, if we take teenage girls and their use of TikTok. At home, on their digital devices, they are learning the dances, sharing clips, chatting and commenting. When they enter school their communication there simply becomes an extension of that digital contact. They do not separate out contact between home and educational settings, it simply continues on. And so they then re – enact those same dance moves whilst they wait for the bus, or in the playground or between classes. In effect, meaning that if you were not part of that online contact or at the very least, if you haven’t learned the dance moves they are copying, this puts you at a disadvantage in that face to face contact.

Likewise, gaming and gaming chats have that same continuing aspect to them. What begins at home gets carried over into the playgrounds and so it can be easy to feel excluded from a playground interaction simply because you were not part of the interaction the night before online.

What we are seeing therefore is a blurring of the lines in the contact between our children. A blurring between online and face to face, of home and educational. And so, what then follows, is a blurring too in the types of bullying behaviour displayed. A new form of bullying appears to be emerging blending together the face to face and online sides and meaning if you haven’t been part of one you can then be excluded from the other.

As parents, understanding and awareness are key in supporting our children manage the conflicts of both the playground and the online world.

We offer free virtual sessions specifically for parents to help them navigate this. Get in touch here if you would like to know more or sign up.

Let us help you to help them. Together we can.


Lucy Howard, BulliesOut Digital Communications Officer

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Need to talk?

If you are being bullied or are concerned about someone who is, you can receive help and support from one of our trained Mentors through our e-mentoring service.

If you would like a Mentor to email you, please contact: mentorsonline@bulliesout.com

If you would rather speak to someone over the telephone, you can call Childline on: 0800 1111

For any community-related issues, such as anti-social behaviour, we would suggest contacting your landlord, the local police or your local environmental health department (where applicable), as we are unable to deal with these types of complaints.