What do Kate Winslet, Chris Rock, Jessie J, Tiger Woods, Prince Harry, Taylor Lautner, Barack Obama, Kate Middleton, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, Andrew Garfield, Tyra Banks, Christian Bale and Taylor Swift all have in common? Yes, they are all famous but did you know they were also all victims of being bullied?
This week, rugby giant, Tendai “BEAST” Mtawarira, well-known and loved Sharks and Springbok prop and an ambassador for Fidelity ADT, visited children at Alberton Primary, General Alberts Primary and Theo Wassenaar Primary to empower the children to stand up against bullying.
The frightening reality is that bullying is alive and well in South African schools with as many as 30% of 6-15-year olds having been bullied in the past year. A lot of emphasis is placed on cyber bullying which is a real threat but a bigger threat sits in the playground and the classroom. Children are five times more likely to be bullied at school than online and recent stats show that 87% of bullied children have in fact been bullied at their school.
According to Linda Goodenough, Community Development Manager for Fidelity ADT, 16 000 11-15-year olds are absent from school at any one time due to bullying. “Experts tell us about the huge impact bullying has on a child’s confidence and self-esteem. Children that are bullied are more likely to be depressed in later life, less likely to get a university degree and more likely to be depressed in later life,” she says. It does not have to end that way however.
According to Goodenough Fidelity ADT already run a very successful schools programme on security with Mr ADT. “The opportunity to expand this programme with someone like Beast who the kids all idolise made a lot of sense. Tendai will talk about the various forms of bullying so children know when it is not OK and should speak up. “It is all about bringing the topic out into the open and empowering schools and children to put an end to the cycle,” concludes Goodenough.