Sharjah: In the ongoing efforts throughout the year to combat the issue of bullying and to coincide with the “National Week for Bullying Prevention,” the Child Safety Department conducted a series of enlightening initiatives.
These included educational workshops and a social media awareness campaign under the slogan “The Good Friend,” specifically targeting children, educational staff, and administrators.
Additionally, a collaborative virtual workshop was held in partnership with the Emirates Schools Establishment.
Healthy upbringing of children
Hanadi Al Yafei, the Director-General of the Child Safety Department (CSD) in Sharjah, affirmed that the National Bullying Prevention Week underscores the commitment of the United Arab Emirates to ensuring all factors that guarantee a healthy upbringing for children in the society. It also supports the efforts of institutions and entities in both the public and private sectors aimed at raising awareness about the risks of cyberbullying, defining its forms, and addressing its direct and indirect dangers to children.
Additionally, it aims to enhance preventive practices for monitoring and reducing bullying incidents.
She highligjhted that children today spend most of their time in the digital space for learning, cognitive development, and skill enhancement, exploring the vast world through their digital devices.
This makes them vulnerable to various risks, with bullying being a prominent one, taking multiple forms—some explicit and well-known, while others are disguised as seemingly ordinary practices, such as exclusion, isolation, and self-deprecation.
This necessitates more awareness for children, parents, and institutions about these manifestations of bullying so that they are prepared to deal with them.
The Director-General highlighted that all global studies confirm that children are the age group most susceptible to cyberbullying, with approximately 43% of internet-using children experiencing intimidation and harassment in various forms persistently. She noted that 20% of children and youth have negatively impacted their lives, particularly affecting their desire to attend school and engage in education.
This underscores the urgent need to address bullying in all its forms, primarily through awareness workshops and seminars, to protect children and ensure their right to a healthy life where they can enjoy education and feel a sense of belonging to a community capable of embracing and protecting them from all forms of risks.
160 students and 60 teachers and administrators
The workshops organised by CSD aim to raise awareness about the psychological and social health risks associated with bullying in children. The initiative also aims to empower friends and teachers to address and mitigate bullying positively and healthily, thereby ensuring the establishment of a safe and high-quality educational environment.
This aligns with the objectives outlined in the “Guidance Manual for Professionals in the Field of Social Bullying Prevention” and the National Week for Bullying Prevention.
Conducted at Al Hisn Kindergarten in Al Dhaid and the Amiri Guard Nursery in Sharjah, the workshops drew the participation of approximately 160 students.
These sessions delved into various bullying scenarios, addressing the cultivation of self-confidence, strategies for handling negative emotions, and the correct approach to navigating instances of social bullying.
Students were also educated on the appropriate actions to take when witnessing a bullying incident, from promptly reporting it to educational authorities to offering support to the targeted student and uplifting their morale, all while avoiding reactions that might inadvertently encourage the perpetrators.
The virtual workshop also proved beneficial for 60 participants, including school directors, teachers, educational staff, supervisors, and counsellors. These professionals received valuable guidance on recognizing signs of bullying among children, adopting effective intervention strategies, and providing essential psychological and social support to children affected by bullying.
Hanadi Al Yafei, the Director General of the Child Safety Department (CSD)