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Unfriendly friendships - bullying by another name?

Recently released their latest research report, titled Unfriendly Friendships. It has found that textbook definitions of bullying are missing the mark with young people. The report concluded that young people found it difficult to label their experiences as bullying, particularly if the bullying comes from a friend, even when the experience is causing significant emotional distress.

Traditional definition and perceptions of ‘a bully’ as a stranger or someone outside of peer groups, means that young people may not act or seek support when these issues are present within friendship groups.

The report outlines the findings of two online surveys, each with representative samples of 1000 young people aged 14 to 25 years from across Australia.

The first survey asked young people if they were bullied according to a standard definition of bullying, with one in four young people self-reporting they were bullied in the past year (24.2 per cent).

The second survey asked young people if they had experienced a series of behaviours typically associated with bullying and peer issues, with almost half (46.3 per cent) experiencing at least one of the bullying behaviours in the past month – considerably higher than the self-reported rate of bullying.

The most common peer and bullying behaviours experienced included being ignored (41.4 per cent), having someone talk about them behind their back (31.6 per cent) and having gossip or rumours spread about them (23.2 per cent).

Different behaviours impacted young people to varying degrees. The most impactful behaviour experienced was being sent abusive or hurtful messages (typical of cyberbullying) with 73.8 per cent of young people reporting a moderate to major impact on mental health and wellbeing, followed by being excluded online (73.7 per cent). This was higher than the impact of physical bullying (71.1 per cent).

The findings from this research have formed the foundations for ReachOut’s latest bullying and friendship resources and prompted the creation of their new classroom lessons and Wellbeing Fives. You can freely access them here: Friendships.

Join us to explore what this means for PDHPE programs

As part of an ongoing partnership with ACHPERNSW is pleased to be hosting a webinar with Claire Goodall, ReachOut’s School Manager to share their latest research and explore the implications for how we deliver lessons around bullying. Join us for this free webinar on Wednesday 28 October from 3.30 – 5.00pm. Click on the webinar 

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