Saturday, November 23, 2013

Newsround's main contribution to this year's Anti-Bullying Week was the story of Chloe, who was bullied for years because of the colour of her skin. Chloe managed to overcome the bullying and now tries to help others.

Chloe's story was broadcast on Monday morning at 7.40am, when the programme was presented by Ricky Boleto, and repeated at 6.50pm with Ayshah Tull presenting.

Unfortunately Newsround failed to report another important bullying-related story on Monday - the start of a campaign aimed at raising awareness that "gay" should not be used in a negative way or as a term of abuse. It is especially hurtful, and can cause great distress to the many thousands of kids in Britain who have yet to 'come out' to their friends and family.

Pop Idol winner, Will Young, feels strongly that things need to change. He spoke about Stonewall's new campaign to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV's This Morning, and on the following day took part in a Mumsnet webchat.

Homophobic bullying differs from other forms of bullying in that being gay is still regarded by some as shameful. So kids - particularly gay kids - are less likely to speak out and seek help. Depression and suicidal thoughts are consequently higher than those bullied for other reasons.

Head of BBC Children's, Joe Godwin, says no young person should have to suffer from homophobic bullying, but so far there's been no sign of CBBC making properly inclusive drama.

Campaigns to change attitudes in schools are important. Such campaigns would be so much more effective if children's media, too, did its bit to fight off the stigma of being gay. Is it really asking too much for children's TV to ditch the discrimination and start to feature a few gay teen heroes in programmes like M.I. High, Wizards vs Aliens, The Dumping Ground, Dani's Castle, All at Sea ......?

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