Children led the design of the new resource
A toolkit to help schools across Scotland run youth-led campaigns to tackle online bullying has been launched today by NSPCC and respectme.
The Think B4 You Type toolkit, which was designed by the two children’s organisations alongside a group of young people from Angus, gives guidance to adults on setting up anti-bullying campaigns.
The resource was born out of a campaign run last year by NSPCC Scotland, respectme and Angus Council, which saw eight secondary schools in the area work to raise awareness of online bullying and find local, youth-led solutions to prevent and address it.
The activities put on by the young people in the schools included arranging sessions with peers to discuss online bullying, making a film on the impact of text bullying and social media comments, holding peer support drop in sessions and giving presentations in assemblies.
Carla Malseed, NSPCC Scotland’s campaigns manager, said: “All children who are affected by bullying can suffer harm – whether they are bullied, they bully others or they witness bullying - and the effects of bullying can last into adulthood.
“Our Childline counsellors talk to hundreds of children in Scotland about bullying each year. Many young people talk about it affecting their self-worth and feeling trapped and isolated.
“While this toolkit focuses on online bullying, it is important that this is looked at in the wider context of relationships, and that any campaign considers the link between online and offline bullying.”
Wendy Harrington, director of respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service, added: “The youth-led campaign and activities run in Angus schools last year showed the power of young people to create change in their communities.
“It is vital that young people are empowered to support improvement in their own and their peers’ lives; they are the experts in their own experiences, and their understanding, ideas and solutions are essential to make these campaigns a success.”
Rachel Talbot, who attends Brechin High School in Angus and was on the youth advisory group for the original campaign, chaired the virtual launch of the toolkit.
The 13-year-old said: “By working with our peers in our schools and sharing our own experiences, together we were able to create the Think B4 You Type campaign and make recommendations to Angus City Council regarding their anti-bullying policy in our schools.
“This issue matters to me so much personally, because when I was in primary school I was bullied both in person and online.
“It’s important to me to do as much as I can to try to stop anyone from going through the same thing and to help the ones who unfortunately do.
“I believe the activities that we ran at school during anti-bulling week, made everyone really think about the issue and the impact it can have on people’s lives.”
As well as providing guidance for adults, the toolkit includes templates and further learning for direct use by the young people themselves. Schools can download a copy of the toolkit from respectme.org.uk