Ahead of Anti-Bullying Week new poll shows children in England worry about being seen as ‘different’

  • 40% of children polled said they would hide aspects of themselves for fear of being bullied

  • 61% of those who would hide aspects of themselves said they would hide or change the way they look to avoid being bullied

  • 64% of children polled have come across someone being bullied for being ‘different’ from others, yet more than a third (36%) say they don’t learn enough in school about what to do if it happens to them

  • Anti-Bullying Week 2017 (13-17 Nov) has the theme ‘All Different, All Equal’.

  • Anti-Bullying Alliance patron Andy Day, with his band Andy and the Odd Socks, is getting schools and early years settings to celebrate what makes us all unique by asking children to wear odd socks to school on the first day of Anti-Bullying Week (13th Nov) and celebrate ‘Odd Socks Day’.

Campaigners are urging schools to celebrate what makes pupils unique during Anti-Bullying Week (13-17 Nov) as a new poll of more than 1,600 8 to 16 year olds in England found that over half (52%) worry about being seen as ‘different’ from others, and 40% would hide or change aspects of themselves for fear of being bullied.

The poll, published by the Anti-Bullying Alliance based at the National Children’s Bureau, shows that while the majority of children (96%) think it is important to be yourself, of the two-fifths of children who would conceal something about themselves, 61% said they would hide or change the way they look to avoid being bullied.

Worryingly, 64% of children polled have come across someone being bullied because they were different – with children in primary school only marginally less likely to have done so than those in secondary school, suggesting that bullying behaviour can start at an early age. Despite this, more than a third (36%) said that teachers didn’t do enough to educate them about what to do if bullying happened to them.

The poll also found that 41% of children would keep quiet if someone else was being bullied because they didn’t want to be bullied themselves.

During Anti-Bullying Week, supported this year by award winning British technology company SafeToNet, children in schools across the country will be sending the message loud and clear that they are ‘All Different, All Equal’.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance’s patron - children’s television star and frontman of children’s rock’n’roll band Andy and the Odd Socks, Andy Day - is getting children talking about celebrating what makes everyone unique in a fun way by encouraging children to wear ‘Odd Socks for Anti-Bullying Week’ and raise money for anti-bullying charities. Andy and the Odd Socks new single ‘Unique’ is being released to mark the beginning of Anti-Bullying Week 2017.

This poll shows that some children are worried about being themselves for fear of bullying. They worry about many things that might make them ‘stand out’ including their appearance, disability, culture, or religion. It is so important that we learn to celebrate the things that make us all different, and are clear that it is never OK to bully someone.

Anti-Bullying Week is sending the message we are ‘All Different, All Equal’ and we hope to provide a platform for children, teachers and parents, to raise awareness of what to do if you are being bullied, or see it happening to someone else. We are delighted to be working on such a positive campaign being celebrated by pupils, parents, schools and anti-bullying organisations across the country.

Martha Evans, Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance

We are over the moon to be supporting Anti-Bullying Alliance on such an incredibly important issue as Anti-Bullying Week. Our songs are all about being unique and appreciating others unique qualities. Whilst this poll paints a worrying picture, encouraging acceptance of individuality at an early age can help prevent bullying from taking root. We are in a privileged position that enables us to influence younger children’s behaviour for good. Odd Socks Day is such a simple awareness raiser and we really hope schools will get on board.

Andy Day, of Andy and the Odd Socks

We’re all different, this is a defining trait of being human and young people as they grow and mature should not be bullied for what makes them ‘different’. Social Media and the internet have many benefits but young people tell us that they are often worried about the additional pressures to be or look a certain way that the online world brings. SafeToNet is committed to helping create an environment where children who currently choose to hide aspects of their developing personality can use amazing online resources, without fear of bullying.

Richard Pursey, CEO of SafeToNet

Find out how to get involved with Anti-Bullying Week at: www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/antibullyingweek and join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #AntiBullyingWeek #AllDifferentAllEqual.

Please remember - Bullying is never OK and you should always speak to an adult you trust if it is happening to you or someone you know. You can also call Childline for advice on 0800 1111.


Notes to editors

Interviews with Anti-Bullying Alliance spokespeople are available. For further information please contact the National Children’s Bureau media office: media@ncb.org.uk / rnewson@ncb.org.uk 020 7843 6047. For urgent enquiries, out of office-hours call: 07721 097 033.

To arrange an interview with Andy Day contact Doug.Wright@LDCommunications.co.uk / Alex.Karol@LDCommunications.co.uk / 0207 439 7222.

About the poll

The poll was conducted by OnePoll in October 2017. 2000 children in the UK completed the poll, including 1,673 from England. Children were between 8-16 years old.

About the Anti-Bullying Alliance

The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) is a unique coalition of organisations and individuals, who work together to reduce bullying and create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn. ABA is hosted by the National Children's Bureau.

For more information visit www.anti­-bullyingalliance.org.uk 

About the National Children’s Bureau

The National Children’s Bureau is a leading children’s charity working to build a better childhood for every child. We champion children’s right to be safe, secure and supported, by using evidence and our expert knowledge to influence government policy, and help practitioners to do the best job possible, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.

For more information visit www.ncb.org.uk

About Andy Day and Andy and the Odd Socks

Andy Day is undoubtedly one of the most popular children’s personalities in the UK and widely known for his antics tackling dinosaurs, investigating baby animals and being on safari, but the much-loved children’s TV presenter now adds another string to his bow. This is Andy Day the pop star! Andy and his brilliant band The Odd Socks were personally booked by Emily Eavis to make their debut show at Glastonbury this year and Emily and her family are already big fans. Andy and his bonkers new band The Odd Socks are set to release their debut album in November 2017.

Listen to ‘Unique’ Andy’s anti-bullying song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phu3js293XE  

For more information visit www.andyandtheoddsocks.com

About SafeToNet

SafeToNet is an award-winning, British technology company that is leading the way in safeguarding children online and protecting families. Its pioneering software uses machine-learning algorithms through its app to help combat cyberbullying, sextortion, trolling, grooming and other predatory risks. SafeToNet is a proud sponsor of Anti-Bullying Week in 2017.

For more information visit www.safetonet.com