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A discussion from Sarah Blackmore, Head of New Directions Social Care #antibullyingweek

From the 14th-18th November the Anti-Bullying Week, organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance is set to take place. The theme for the week is ‘Power for Good’.

My teams – in Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol will 100% give their backing to the initiative. We will get involved in the social media projects our bossy Communications and Marketing Team will drive, we will share our own stories with one another and discuss how we can help stop the whole darn thing and then we will get back to what we do best in our day-to-day lives.

But…and it is a heavy hearted but…bullying will continue to wreak havoc in our playgrounds, workplaces, homes and other environments – tearing through families, teams and groups and now it has a new more modern home to grow and manifest – social media.

Whilst I personally rejoice in the platform that social media has given me – silly selfies, celebration and a lot of chatter about my brilliant daughter, it has also opened up opportunity for bullies to taunt via another channel. The weekly stories I read about and see online involving cyber bullying distress me beyond belief.

I have a young daughter (the brilliant one I post online about) and she is vibrant, funny and full of life – ready for her biggest challenge to date, her first year in secondary school. In recent years I have had an extra responsibility on my shoulders as she herself starts to investigate the virtues of social media. I have a million ‘apps’ installed on my own various technologies to ensure I can always be aware of the activity on any of her accounts…but it will never be enough to give any parent peace of mind.

As parents, carers and friends we must use our really privileged position to stamp bullying out. We must build up our daughters and sons; let them know that they can reach for the moon in all that they do and achieve. If we instil this sense of belief in all of our young people, show them what good they can aspire to and coach them gently about always being kind and mindful of others, we can start to re-shape futures and goals.

So, with the theme of this year in mind – ‘Power for Good’, I am pledging to empower the young people I know, my colleagues, friends and family to deliver just that – GOOD. I will continue to celebrate success on Facebook, and congratulate and promote others that do well. I will re-tweet stories of conquering challenges and climbing mountains (both physical and mental) and I will build the confidence, inner strength and power for good with all of my digital acquaintances. My team and I are renowned for putting the ‘social’ in Social Care and now we will also pledge to always put the ‘social’ in social media too…even if that means looking quite ridiculous from time-to-time, but we will do all of this supporting one another and encouraging our goals.

Rant over 

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