Dr Mike Gosling Speech to Suva Grammar School – 17 July, 2015
Good morning Principal, Mrs Ane Rika, teachers, boys and girls and ex-scholars.
It is indeed a privilege for me as a former student between 1960 and 1965 to address you today. I have been asked to address you on a big problem that is occurring here at Suva Grammar and elsewhere, namely, the issue of cyber-bullying.
What is bullying?
It is being deliberately and knowingly intimidation to someone else, either without awareness or care of the impact of that behaviour on the other person or victim.
Bullying can occur at school in the classroom or play ground by teachers or fellow students and also in the workplace and at home.
Now we have cyber-bullying on the internet – where you don’t even know who is bullying you.
Cyber-bullying is where a child, pre-teen or teen gets mean or intimidating messages through the internet – for example, by email, Facebook or Twitter, and on mobile phones. It can be by peers or persons in authority.
All bullying can cause you anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem and a feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness.
There seems no escape from a bully, because even when you are not physically being bullied, the bully is in your head – as his or her message is repeated over and over!
Some facts about bullying:
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online
- 70% of students report seeing bullying online
- Over 80% of teens use a mobile phone regularly making it the most common medium for bullying
- 68% of teens agree that cyber-bullying is a serious problem.
Bullies are unhappy, frustrated and unaware people. They are consumed by their own weaknesses. Bullies are not worthy of wasting your emotional energy over them. Don’t give in to bullies, because when you do you are giving away your power.
Choose NOT to be a victim!
Strategies – What to do if you’re a victim of bullying
- Save evidence of all bullying messages and images – but don’t reread the messages as you will get upset and more distressed each time you do. They may be used later if you choose to report the bullying to school or the police.
- If it’s at school, tell the Principal or duty teacher as soon as possible. Schools are to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students. This would include cyber-bullying that occurs outside the school, but which has implications for student well-being whilst AT school.
- Report internet cyber-bullying to the website where the bullying took place – usually there is a ‘Report Abuse’ or a ‘Safety Link’ button. If you can, BLOCK the bullying messages coming through your internet connection.
- If you receive text messages on you mobile phone from
an unknown number (or unwanted text) it’s best not to reply. Talk to someone
you trust about the issue – friend, parent, or a member of staff.
Make a note of the date and time you received the texts (if you are getting at least 4 within a week). To show the messages are not wanted, the call list can only start from when you stopped replying.
Your phone company will liaise with the company where texts or calls are coming from and may stamp texts being sent from their account, temporarily block their account or deactivate them from the network.
- Responding to a bully will only make things worse – provoking a reaction from you is exactly what the cyber bullies want; so don’t give them the satisfaction.
- It’s very important not to seek revenge on a cyber-bully by becoming a cyber-bully yourself. Again, it will only make the situation worse and could result in serious legal consequences for you.
The RULE is — If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.
SAVE — REPORT —BE RELENTLESS (i.e., keep reporting). This is because the cyber-bully is relentless!
Tips to manage a cyber-bully
- Don’t blame yourself. Do not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel. The cyber-bully is the person with the problem, not you.
- Try to view cyber-bullying from a different perspective. The cyber-bully is an unhappy, frustrated person who wants to have control over your feelings so you feel as badly as they do. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t dwell on it or read the messages over and over. Focus on positive experiences. Be proud of who you are and the wonderful things you know about yourself.
- Learn to deal with stress (this can make you more resilient so you don’t feel overwhelmed by it). Exercise, meditation, prayer, positive self-talk, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises all help (see The Breathing Square below).