Boredom leads to school bullying, says report

UK Telegraph 07 October 2007
One in four primary school children has been the victim of bullying in the playground, according to new research which blames “boring breaktimes” for the problem. Bullying is parents’ main concern, the report found, with more than half of mothers worrying what will happen to their child out of lesson time. One in 10 parents fears dangers from beyond the school gates.The report, commissioned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, comes as the year-long Good Childhood Inquiry prepares to release research showing that bullying is endemic in British schools, affecting children’s educational performance and making them feel emotionally, if not physically, ill. The report by the RBS claims much of the bullying in Britain’s playgrounds is caused by children simply not being stimulated enough.It says one in six children experiences “break-time boredom”, and underlines the concerns of a national school grounds charity, Learning through Landscapes, that children often engage in nasty behaviour because they have nothing better to do. The charity says infants spend about 24 per cent of their school life inside the grounds, and claims those which have transformed their playgrounds have seen bullying fall by up to 64 per cent, and vandalism by 28 per cent. Suggested improvements to playgrounds include “friendship benches” where lonely children can get help from a playground “buddy”. Children are taught how to act as listening buddies, spot unhappy children and know what to do if there is a fight. In one school, the charity encouraged the headteacher to cordon off a section for football and send “games masters” to work in the other zone.

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