John Marsden’s comments demonstrate a lack of understanding about bullying

in News

John Marsden’s comments demonstrate a lack of understanding about bullying says the Hon Diana Bryant AO, National Centre Against Bullying Chair.

John Marsden is a great author, but his comments in the Sydney Morning Herald (“Don’t really care what people think”: John Marsden defends view of bullying) demonstrate a lack of understanding about the complexity and seriousness of bullying on children and young people. 

Marsden argues that, where children are bullied, most of it is prompted by the victim exhibiting “unlikeable behaviours” and that the victim’s peers are helping to address these aspects. He describes this as “feedback”.

It would be tragic if any child believed this.  

All available research and evidence show the reality of bullying is that it is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. 

Bullying can happen in person or online, through various digital platforms and devices and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). 

Bullying is not corrective, but it is corrosive.  It is extremely damaging to children, and should be stamped out rather than, as Mr Marsden seems to suggest, accepted or celebrated.

You may also be interested in

  • Can new technologies help stop bullying?

    More students are reporting bullying to their schools, thanks to anonymous apps and web-based tools.

    Read More >
  • What we need to know about helping children who are bullied

    In Australia, approximately one student in five is bullied at school every few weeks or more often.

    Read More >
  • Hundreds take part in anti-bullying fun run

    The Buddy Run, held on 21 October 2018, was an Anti-Bullying Fun Run which brought children and families together to step up against bullying and spread the message that bullying is never ok.

    Read More >

Subscribe to the Alannah & Madeline Foundation newsletter

Subscribe to the Alannah & Madeline Foundation newsletter or visit our media centre for media information including media releases, spokespeople, publications and contacts.