Influenced

Influenced

With the end of the academic year fast approaching, Unique Voice is already busy taking bookings for their Triple R season for next September. For this week’s blog, Sarah focusses on the Primary project, ‘Influenced’; its impact, relevance and importance.

Only this week, the Unique Voice team were in a primary school being told of how many of their children really struggle to do the right thing when somebody influential or potentially bullying does the opposite. Often it’s the case that these children ignore their morals and go along with the option that keeps them socially safer, even if this means laughing at their friends or neglecting to help them if they are being bullied.

Whilst the rational side of me looks at this situation as unacceptable and something that needs challenging and changing, the emotional side of me can understand exactly why it happens.

Social placings and friendship groups play a huge part in our school days, and many young people will do all they can to ensure that they maintain social acceptability. But when you actually speak to young people about this, they are all too aware that actually, the more challenging route is the one they should take.

Unique Voice’s Influenced tackles this and many other aspects of bullying. In particular the character Megan finds herself stuck between doing the right thing, and being influenced by others to laugh along at others expense. It is often this character that young people are willing to relate to, (I’m sure there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t experienced seeing someone being targeted at some point in their lives), but it is also the character that allows the children to explore one of the most crucial messages within the project; that sometimes doing nothing can be as upsetting as the bullying itself. Megan never meant to be nasty, she isn’t a mean girl, but because she allows herself to be led by others so easily, she lets down those friends she really cares about.

One of the important things to remember and something that Influenced also covers is the importance of understanding why people bully others. Whilst personal circumstances and struggles never excuse bullying behaviour we need to acknowledge and tackle these in order to move forward. Quite simply people who are happy in their own skin, and themselves don’t feel the need to target others. So unless we identify those who are misplacing their own unhappiness onto those they bully, and give them the support they need- the problem isn’t likely to go away. Similarly, those children who join in with bullying behaviour to keep themselves ‘safer’, often need encouragement that they can speak out. Let’s face it, if every child who stands by and watches bullying occur stepped in to stop it, the bully would immediately seem less powerful.

Bullying issues can be hard to deal with, for all involved, but that doesn’t mean they are unsolvable. Perhaps we all need to show a little more compassion to those caught up in these situations and work with them to overcome these issues. That is why Unique Voice is incredibly proud to be running their second Triple R season, encouraging children and schools to Recognise, Report and Resolve bullying together for the benefit of their school.

 

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