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.