Friday, May 01, 2009

Bullying questions

An article about the taunts endured by Tom Daley at his school appeared in the Guardian on 18 April 2009. Tom's bullying got worse after he took part in the Olympics last year.

"It's gone on a long time," he says of the hounding that now resembles bullying, "but it reached a peak after the Olympics and has just stayed there. They've been taking the mick for ages, calling me 'Diver Boy', but they now spend most of their time throwing stuff at me. I thought it would calm down but it hasn't."

Two days after the Guardian article Newsround began a week of reports about its investigation into the lives of children. The fieldwork for the investigation took place in January 2009, and presumably involved considerable planning. One of the principal findings was that children were most afraid of being bullied. But for some reason Newsround failed to report Tom Daley's bullying until the following Friday, by which time it had become a big story in the 'red tops'. Originally Newsround chose to minimise the issue of bullying as it affects kids at school.

On Tuesday 21 April:-

Ore: You spend nearly a thousand hours every year at school. It plays a big part in your life, but 1 in 4 of you think there's too much pressure to do well in exams. Bullying is a problem too, and more than half of the kids we asked told us they're distracted by badly behaved children. What's more 1 in 10 of you said that teachers are sometimes bullied or even attacked in class. Maddy's been investigating.

Kids bullying their teachers is a recognised issue, and it was the the focus of Maddy's report. However a "massive investigation" called All About You might be expected to look into the bullying problem as it affects kids themselves.

And then on Thursday 23 April:-

Ore: We all get scared sometimes and many of you share the same worries. The most frightening place for most of you is being in the dark. 4 out of 10 of you told us that it's where you felt least safe. But 1 in 5 of you said you feel unsafe on the streets. When we asked you what you were most afraid of, most of you said bullying but next on the list was getting stabbed or shot. 1 in 8 of you said that was your biggest fear.

Gavin's report followed, and as with Maddy's there was no mention of children who were concerned about bullying. So why did Newsround play down the problem of bullying? And why did CBBC remove the 'Bullying' message board and other peer help boards in December 2008? And why was all Aaron's expert help about bullying and growing up issues taken away as well?

CBBC's editorial judgement looks questionable if you ask me.

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