First-hand advice given for 2022 Anti-Bullying Week!
Bullying is a soul-destroying experience and the significant effects of it can last a lifetime.
November 18 sees the culmination of Anti-Bullying Week 2022, which launched with Odd Socks Day encouraging people to celebrate what makes them different, writes Ellen Beardmore.
The campaign aims to encourage people experiencing bullying to speak out and others to challenge the behaviour.
Harvey Morton, a 24 year-old social media and digital expert, is speaking out after he was bullied for several years.
“For me it started towards the end of primary school and carried on into secondary school”, said Harvey, of Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The bullies called me Harry Potter because I had glasses and dark hair. They also poked fun at the way I spoke, slowly and with a strong accent. It was mainly verbal bullying though I did have orange juice thrown down my back and things thrown at me.
“Because I struggled with my hand and eye coordination, people would do things like kicking footballs at me because of the reaction that I then gave. I did feel like I had lost all my confidence and struggled to find anything I felt good at.”
Bullying affects more people than you might expect across all ages.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics showed around one in five children aged between 10 and 15 experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour in the year ending March 2020. Harvey also experienced an early form of cyber bullying when at school.
He said: “I used to make film reviews on YouTube which the bullies found, so they would print off my photograph from that and draw stuff on them to place around school. I launched my first business at school and when I started having success with enterprise competitions there seemed to be some jealousy around that, which led to more bullying.
"For a very long time I felt like I couldn’t put anything of myself out there. It did have a long-lasting impact. I initially wanted to go into radio but was very self-conscious as a result of the bullying so I took a different path. Now I try my best to help others who may be in a similar situation.”
Today Harvey is an award-winning entrepreneur and has turned his negative experience into a positive. He gives talks in schools through his business Harvey Morton Digital and works with The Diana Award charity’s anti-bullying scheme.
He said: “Sometimes people at the talks do laugh at the bullying stories but if I help even one person each time it has been worth it.”
The Anti-Bullying Alliance organises Anti-Bullying Week, which schools across the country take part in, and this year it has the theme of Reach Out. For advice and support see anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk website.