Most bullied kids have parents who don't know or don't care

ONE in three Australian children aged 10-11 years is being bullied at school, but their concerns may not be reaching the ears of parents and teachers, a new study has found.

The analysis of Australian Institute of Family Studies research has found that the parents of more than half the children who reported being picked on at school were either unaware or did not consider it bullying.

It also found a lack of reporting of such behaviours by schoolteachers, with almost four in five teachers failing to report bullied children were actually being victimised at school.

Institute research fellow Dr Jodie Lodge said parents were more likely to be aware their children were being bullied than teachers, showing children were sharing such intimate details more with their families.

But she said parents were more likely to be aware of their children being bullied if it happened in "multiple ways", such as three of four different types of bullying.

"Bullying victimisation experiences that are apparent at young ages are a precursor to such experiences as children grow, with one in seven children identified as having been persistently bullied or picked on their entire school life," she said.

"This pattern is important as teachers and parents may need help in ensuring that bullying interventions are effectively targeted towards the children at greatest risk of bullying victimisation."

Despite the high numbers of bullying victims, Dr Lodge said it was also important to recognise that bullies themselves often needed help, dealing with the causes of their depressive, aggressive and anti-social behaviours.

"Bullying by children is considered a stepping stone for criminal behaviours, increasing the risk of police contact when they become adults by more than half," she said.

"Children who bully also increase their risk of later depression by 30% and require greater support for behaviour change through targeted approaches.

The study also reaffirmed a need for both teachers and parents to be given more training and help to identify and address bullying and children's response to it.

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