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Bullying is a systematic act in which one person deliberately and repeatedly makes another person feel bad, and it is difficult for the victim to defend themselves.

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What is bullying at school?

Bullying is a systematic act in which one person deliberately and repeatedly makes another person feel bad, and it is difficult for the victim to defend themselves. In other words, the same student is being bullied repeatedly with deliberate and conscious actions, which puts the bully and the bullied in an unequal position. This means that the bully is either stronger, more popular, or older.

Bullying can be visible (physical or verbal) or covert (rejection, rumor-mongering, cyber-bullying). Covert bullying is harder to spot, but one sign is often a change in the bullied student's mood or behavior. Bystanders have an important role in stopping bullying: if you learn about bullying or witness it, you have to intervene or call an adult for help.

Bullying can only continue and grow if bystanders condone it or pretend not to notice. If peers consider bullying unacceptable, it is more difficult to bully. Therefore, in order to stop bullying, it is important to understand your responsibility as a bystander and to stand up for the victim of bullying. Good group relations and acceptance of differences are also important in a bullying-free environment.

Types of bullying:

  • physical - hitting, pushing, blocking the path, obstructing, hiding things, etc.;
  • verbal - cursing, teasing, threatening, blackmailing, teasing and commenting, mocking, spreading rumors, etc.;
  • related to relationships - exclusion from the group, ostracizing, making faces, ignoring, etc.

How to deal with bullying at school?

  1. It is important to remember that you are not alone, and there is always someone who can help you!
  2. No one has the right to bully you! Know that you are not to blame for what is happening.
  3. It is important that you talk about what is happening with an adult who is safe for you - either mother, father, grandmother, aunt, class teacher, social pedagogue, or school principal. Talking is very important to put a stop to bullying and for you to feel safe again.
  4. You can always call 116 111 for help, ask for advice in chat or write to [email protected].

Remember! Talking about school bullying is not snitching but standing up for yourself and others! Do not accept bullying and violence! It is important to boldly intervene in situations where you notice that someone is being bullied. Bystanders or passersby always have a lot of power to stop bullying! Be sure to talk to a safe adult, even also if you know someone is being bullied.

It is the responsibility of the school to ensure a safe environment for its students. Students must feel good and safe at school. Effective bullying prevention and incident resolution practices should be designed and implemented in every school.


Source: Kiusamisvaba Kool (EST)

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is when someone is deliberately and repeatedly harmed in cyberspace so that it is difficult for them to defend themselves. Cyberbullying can happen one-on-one, in a group, or in public. A cyberbully can also remain anonymous.

Examples: sending threatening messages and hurtful comments, making and distributing derogatory pictures and videos, communicating in an ugly manner or ostracizing in online games and forums-groups, creating fake accounts and distributing other's personal information for the purpose of hurting them, etc.

Cyberbullying hurts everyone

The bullied person may experience stress, anxiety, depression, hard feelings, and withdrawal, as well as difficulties with coping, concentration, learning, and relationships. You can't hide from cyberbullying, and it comes with you everywhere. Cyberbullying can leave a scar for life.

The bully may feel a short-term sense of power but also peer pressure to continue bullying and anxiety about possible consequences. Physical evidence remains from cyberbullying. Bullies also tend to have more difficulty managing their emotions, communication skills, and learning. Bullies have a higher risk of being involved in crime in the future.

Bystanders may experience greater stress and anxiety, insecurity and guilt because they do not know how to react, as well as the fear of being bullied themselves.

CYBER BULLYING CAN BE AN OFFENSE, punishable by fines or imprisonment. Creating a fake account can be an illegal use of another person's identity. Extortion is considered to be the demand for money or other material benefits in return for not disclosing embarrassing information. Distributing another person's images without permission is a copyright violation. Find out more from the online constables!

If a child is being cyberbullied:

  • block the bully;

  • notify the owner of the social portal about the bully's activities (report);

  • copy or save hurtful posts in order to use them as evidence in a criminal case if necessary;

  • talk to a trusted adult (parent, teacher, KiVa team, etc.) to get help and advice.

If you have noticed cyberbullying:

  • do not distribute bullying content;

  • let the perpetrator know that bullying is not OK;

  • save information as physical evidence, talk to a trusted adult;

  • inform the victim if the bullying is happening without their knowledge and offer support;

  • support the victim even if the bullying continues so that they do not feel alone.

Read more: Suurim julgus (EST/RUS), Targalt internetis (EN)

Source: Kiusamisvaba Kool (EST)

What is not bullying?

Arguments and disagreements are not bullying!

Conflicts and disagreements are part of human relationships because we all have different understandings and desires. When striving for our goals, we don't always remember to consider the feelings of others. A class full of children is no exception here. There is nothing wrong with children and adolescents working out their differences because such situations teach them how to deal with feelings and resolve conflicts, even when the parties get angry.

Arguments and disagreements are different from bullying because

  • they are transitory and short-lived;

  • the same child is not consistently targeted.

Teasing and making noise is not bullying because there is an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect; the intention is not to hurt or offend anyone.

It is important that everyone understands what differentiates bullying from resolving disagreements. Sometimes words and actions intended as a joke can still hurt or upset others. In this case, it is important to make it known that the joke or game has crossed the line, and the other party should apologize.


Read more: Kiusamisvaba Kool (EST)

Why must bullying be prevented and reduced?

Bullying is a widespread problem with serious consequences that can permanently change the lives of both the bullied and the bully. Concomitant anxiety, depression, problems with self-esteem, or even suicidal thoughts can develop not only in the victim but also in the bully and even the bystander. Not to mention how difficult it is for a child who is a victim of bullying to focus on studies, which is why it is often neglected. Also, the potential of these students may remain unrealized precisely because of the insecurity, anxiety, etc., that arise due to bullying.

The consequences of bullying also affect the society as a whole. For example, being a victim of childhood bullying is directly linked to depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health problems, which result in a number of direct and indirect costs to the state. In cooperation with various supporters, Swedish bullying prevention has found out that school bullying that occurred in the country in one year cost the local society 17.5 billion Swedish krona (i.e., approx. 1.8 billion euros) during the next 30 years. Thus, by preventing and reducing bullying, we secure stronger, healthier, and more valuable members of society in the future!

Reading material: Under the leadership of the Office of the Estonian Ombudsman for Children and with the participation of Kristiina Treial, a management board member, and Ly Kasvandik, the chairman of the supervisory board of the Bullying-Free School, the advisory material "School free from bullying!"

Source: Kiusamisvaba Kool (EST)

Ten recommendations for parents

As parents, we want our children to grow up to be good, happy, and self-sufficient people. In today's society, in addition to everyday life skills, children must also be taught how to manage the digital world in the best way. How can a parent support their child so that the child knows how to use the cyber environment safely?

Remember that what you have taught your child about being a good person also applies in the digital world. Explain to your child that you have to behave in the same manner on the Internet as you do at home, kindergarten, or school.

An example teaches better than talking. Remember that the child imitates your behavior - observe how and how often you are online, what you do there, and what example you set.

The ability to manage in the digital world is essential and requires learning. Keep yourself up to date with developments in the digital world. Educate yourself about the possibilities and risks of using the Internet and smart devices, and talk about them with your child.

Identify the websites you want your child to visit. There are many age-appropriate and educational websites on the Internet that offer opportunities for learning and play.

Agree with the child on the rules for the use of the Internet and smart devices, and also monitor their fulfillment by both parties. The agreed rules should be prepared according to the child's age and updated as the child grows and their skills and knowledge increase.

Accompany your child also in the digital world. Be interested in what the child is doing on the Internet - visit the same websites and social networks together, play games the child likes - find a common interest. Talk to the child about why they like a certain environment or activity.

Be social media savvy yourself. Be interested in what apps and services your family members and friends use. You may find that by trying a few online environments or apps, and you will begin to better understand both social media and why your child enjoys it.

Stay connected with your child on social media, but respect their privacy there too. Discuss with the child how they would like to be connected to you and other family members on social media and what information, including photos and videos, would be reasonable for the child to share about themselves and their family members. When uploading photos and videos yourself, consider the child's interests and ask the child's permission before posting a photo of them on the Internet.

Explain to the child that pictures, videos, e-mails, and texts uploaded somewhere on social media or on a website can exist forever within the vast expanse of the Internet and can later cause a lot of discomfort and damage.

In online environments, children can develop friendships and even love relationships. Make sure that the person interacting with your child is really who they say they are, and also explain to your child the downsides and dangers of such interactions.

Always try to understand before you judge. The child needs to know that no matter what happens, they can tell their loved ones about it.

If you don't have all the answers right away, you can find them out. You can find useful information about using the Internet and smart devices on the website Targalt internetis.

The online police also share advice and information on the Web police of Estonia site.

Always remember that a computer or smart device cannot replace a parent!


Source: Targalt internetis (EN)


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