Life

RADAR teaching children the skills they'll need to cope with bullies throughout life

This is Anti-Bullying Week and interactive safety and life skills education centre RADAR is launching a campaign to highlight the issue and showcase skills kids can learn to challenge and deal with bullying behaviour, writes Leona O'Neill

Mobile phones mean that bullies, be they your local one or international troll, have access to hurt you 24/7
Leon O'Neill

BULLYING in the modern age is sadly an everyday occurrence. When we were growing up you might have encountered a bully in the playground or in the street outside your home and seek safety in your own space. These days technology and social media have opened up a whole new world to those who wish to do us harm.

Mobile phones mean that bullies, be they your local one or international troll, have access to hurt you 24/7. And technology, as great as it is, also hands the bully a whole new tool box of instruments of torture. Videos and pictures can replace the fist and messenger can replace the taunts in the school yard. For bullying victims, it can be relentless, inescapable hell.

It’s not just young people who can be bullied; as we go through life we’ll all come across people intent on causing us harm, trying to put us down, being nasty for no reason, or just making our lives a misery to make themselves feel better.

It is important to teach kids the tools to deal with these types of people so that they can navigate their early years and those into adulthood with a strong shield of armour.

Anti-Bullying Week runs all this week and RADAR, Northern Ireland’s first and only fully interactive safety and life skills education centre, is launching a campaign to highlight the issue of bullying and showcase skills kids can learn to challenge and deal with bullying behaviour.

A recent report from Childline, 'Not Alone Anymore’, highlighted that across the UK, bullying and cyberbullying continues to be the top reason children aged 11 and under seek help, with almost one in four Childline counselling sessions with children aged 11 and under calling about the issue.

According to Childline, boys were more likely to be counselled about bullying or online bullying than girls. And on the Childline website, among the most commonly viewed information and advice pages this year have been about bullying.

RADAR Campaign ambassador Tiffany Brien said: "I am proud to support the RADAR Anti-Bullying awareness campaign. Having experienced bullying first hand, I am well aware of the devastating impact it can have and the need to educate and equip young people with the skills to know what to do and where to get help if they find themselves in that situation.”

Sandra Leo, RADAR centre manager, Belfast said: "Unfortunately bullying remains a stubbornly persistent and significant problem for many young people. In this digital age, bullying now lives and thrives on the internet and social media as well as offline.

"It is so important that we use the platform of Anti-Bullying Week to throw a spotlight on the issue, to challenge bullying behaviour and to provide our young people with the skills they need to deal with it.

"Our tailor-made interactive workshops are designed to explore the issue in a sensitive manner but one that will also have a lasting impact; that includes providing important lessons about the different types of bullying young people might come across and most importantly who they can turn to get help for themselves or a friend.

"As part of this campaign RADAR are encouraging everyone to support Anti-Bullying week by being kind to others and spreading positivity."

RADAR, based in Belfast, is the only centre of its kind on the island of Ireland that provides engaging and informative workshops for groups of children and young people giving them the opportunity to explore everyday dangers in a risk free setting. Subjects include fire safety, water safety, bus and road safety, train safety, personal safety, electrical safety and farm safety.

RADAR also shares important lessons around life skills to promote everything from healthy eating and money management to managing issues such as antisocial behaviour, bullying, diversity and alcohol awareness, encouraging pupils to think about their choices and to take responsibility for their actions.

RADAR is fully equipped to help children and young people navigate their way safely through life’s challenges which includes being safe on and around roads. The RADAR centre's doors are always open for visitors.

:: To find out more or to arrange a visit see radarni.co.uk

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