Bullying has long been an issue in schools across Wales. Statistics from the Schools Health Research Network showed that 35% of secondary school children in Wales had been bullied within the two months prior to being surveyed in 2019. Since that survey was taken, bullying has evolved into a digital problem. That doesn’t mean online bullying hasn’t happened in the past. However, with the rise of social media, cyberbullying has become a much bigger issue.
Data from the Office of National Statistics found that 19% of children aged 10 to 15 in England and Wales experienced at least one type of online bullying in 2020. These statistics alone show that bullying is an ongoing problem for children in Wales. Regardless of whether it’s in schools, the playground or online, attacks are prevalent. Of course, we can’t assume that children are the sole victims of bullying. Adults can also find themselves in the crosshairs of those with malicious intent.
Tips to Stay Safe
The question, therefore, is how do you avoid bullies? We know it’s impossible to completely avoid someone that wants to do you harm. However, you can remove yourself from the firing line in the physical world and online with these strategies:
Limit What You Show People
Limiting your social media posts is a fundamental tenet of posting with privacy. That doesn’t mean you can’t make everything visible to everyone on a social media platform. However, if you’re posting personal, sensitive or potentially divisive content, limit who can see it.
Bullies will often attack those that are isolated from the group. We see the same thing happen in nature when a pack of lions targets a stray antelope. The more connections you can make, the better your chances are of avoiding bullies.
Avoid Negative Situations
There are times when trouble finds you no matter what. However, if you can avoid places and people that aren’t particularly nice, you stand a much better chance of not being bullied.
Never Give Away Your Personal Details
Just as you wouldn’t tell a random person in the street where you live, you shouldn’t publish your personal details online. Doing this not only opens you up to random attacks, but it can also threaten your safety as criminals could use this information to steal your data or, worse, your money.
Don’t Be Afraid to Block
Anyone that causes you distress shouldn’t be in your life. This rule applies to people in the physical world and online. Don’t interact with bullies. If that means avoiding a certain place or moving, so be it. If that means using the block feature on a social media site, do it.
Be Vigilant and Proactive
Taking yourself out of harm’s way is important. It’s not always easy and it may cause you some short-term stress. However, the long-term benefits outweigh any immediate issues you might face. If you can combine this strategy with the other tips listed in this guide, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding bullies. They won’t guarantee you’re protected at all times. However, if you can be vigilant and take matters into your own hands, you can reduce the chances of you becoming another statistic.