Plan International launches website about bullying

Plan International launched last November the website http://www.aprendesinmiedo.com, to generate awareness among children and teens about bullying, and the importance of speaking up and not being silent whenever it occurs.

Did you know that boys and girls who have been victims of bullying are more likely to develop learning difficulties, are five times more likely to suffer from depression, and girls are eight times more likely to have suicidal tendencies? According to a study conducted by Plan International, bullying affects the self-esteem of children, whether they are victims, bystanders or if they are the bullies. In Latin America, bullying is a reality that affects millions of children yet has not received the attention it deserves

Aprendesinmiedo.com is a site aimed at an audience 7 to 13 years of age, in an interactive and friendly web space. It explains to children what to do in situations of abuse, whether they have been bullied or have witnessed bullying. The website was created based on an agreement with Cartoon Network.

http://www.aprendesinmiedo.com also involves parents and teachers. It provides information on how to handle the situation when a child is a victim of some form of bullying or cyberbullying, with an area of resources and publications on the subject, and links for more knowledge, studies, tools, text, etc. The website supports both the Cartoon Network campaign “Speak Up: Stop Bullying” and Plan´s «Learn Without Fear» campaign to end violence in schools.

The new website is in Spanish, and includes videos, games and other interesting and exciting information. In the coming months it will also be launched in Portuguese and English.

Roland Angerer, Regional Director of Plan International, says that “victims of bullying suffer from low self-esteem, embarrassment, anxiety, and come to dislike the school and often skip classes to avoid further victimization. Thus, their right to education is not being respected, and as a consequence, there are fewer safe schools”.

Angerer emphasizes that bullying is becoming a widespread problem, and that public policies do not accompany the phenomenon in Latin America, with very few countries with laws against bullying in schools.

«Boys and girls are often subjected to bullying because of their ethnicity or sexuality; the same is the case for children with disabilities, as they are younger, smaller and weaker. Plan focuses on working with these populations, which are considered the most vulnerable, «notes Angerer.

A COMPREHENSIVE ANTI-BULLYING WORK APPROACH

As part of the partnership with Cartoon Network, signed last November, the campaign «Stop Bullying: Speak Up » is transmitting public service announcements that use popular characters to channel anti-bullying messages to children and adolescents throughout the region. The concept is «Life is Not a Cartoon» and the characters from the popular show «The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy» are used to illustrate the serious consequences of bullying for victims, bystanders and bullies. The PSAs and interactive websites, in Spanish (www.bastadebullying.com) and Portuguese, (www.chegadebullying.com.br), complement the work that Plan and other organizations are doing in schools and also provide information for children, parents and school authorities.

LEARN WITHOUT FEAR

The website launched last November comes from Plan’s global campaign «Learn without Fear», which aims to end all forms of violence in schools, including psychological and physical bullying.

The vision of the campaign is a world where children can go to school safely with a quality learning experience without fear or threats of violence. The campaign is global in scope and focuses on 49 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America in which Plan works.

The goals of the campaign are:

– Persuade governments to outlaw all forms of violence against children in schools, and enforce such laws

– Work with school leaders and teachers to create violence-free schools and promote alternative discipline methods to corporal punishment

– Promote global changes that include increased resources from donors and international governments, to address violence in schools in developing countries

What is Bullying?

Although there is no concrete definition of bullying, most experts agree it ranges from physical to psychological abuse, including spreading rumors, social exclusion, , threats, humiliating others because of  differences in physical traits, social group, attire, religion, race, and disability. Bullying is abuse inflicted repeatedly and purposefully, among peers and involving both boys and girls. 

Bullying can also be verbal abuse, name calling, threats, psychological and physical aggression, social isolation and even small actions that may seem insignificant, but in reality can exert pressure on the individual repeatedly.  Cyberbullying is also a phenomenon that is increasingly common, and takes place when children are threatened, abused, humiliated and embarrassed by another child through the Internet, digital or interactive technology such as mobile phones or websites.

ABOUT PLAN

Founded over 70 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organizations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan works with nearly 38,000 communities each year, covering a population of 28,200,000 children.

For more information you can contact Marti Ostrander, marti.ostrander@plan-international.org, Tel (507) 6670-7718  or  BB Pin 216a15E2.