A recent Cayman Islands study of elementary and high school students reveals that more than one in three children in Cayman have been victimized by bullies. To combat these growing numbers, Z99 and Rooster 101 radio stations have teamed with local businesses to sponsor “Be the Difference” a multifaceted public awareness and education campaign.
The campaign will provide outreach and learning tools for children, parents, and schools throughout the Cayman Islands. The short-term and long-term effects of bullying are felt throughout the nation and affect everyone. Bullying can lead to low school attendance rates, depression, aggression, increase in criminal activity and even suicide.
“Bullying is a complex problem that needs to be addressed cooperatively by schools, families and communities to make Cayman a safer place for all,” says Jill Kristal, a prominent psychologist who specialises in treating children and families. “The Be the Difference campaign will spread the word about bullying, encourage schools to adopt anti-bullying programmes, inform parents and teachers of the warning signs and how to discuss this issue with children.”
Bullying behaviour reported by Cayman children includes physical assault, tripping, intimidation, rumour spreading and isolation, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, and name-calling. With the advent of the Internet, cyber-bullying is also a growing problem with the use of modern communication technologies used to harass children from afar.
Be the Difference curriculum materials will be distributed to Cayman schools.
The kit includes movies, workbooks, and discussion guides designed to ignite honest, meaningful dialogue about the issue of bullying. Educators and organisations that contributed to the kit include Harvard Graduate School of Education, Not In Our School, Love is Louder, the National Center for Learning Disabilities and Facing History and Ourselves.