The school playing field is the latest place for bullies to strike

According to new research, children who are as young as eight years old are falling victim to both physical and mental bullying on the school playing field. 66%, or two thirds of the 1,010 parents who have children aged 8-16 have said that they have witnessed various forms of intimidation taking place while they have watched their children playing sports.

The study which discovered these findings was jointly organised by the Chance to Shine campaign and the MCC, Marylebone Cricket Club. It also found that teasing with 43%, swearing with 40%, taunts with 34% and verbal threats with 16% were the most common tactics used by sports bullies.

Over two fifths of parents, or 42% of parents reported that their child had lost confidence after being bullied on the sports field, and a fifth felt that their child was now reluctant to take part in the sports as a result of the mind games directed towards them.

In a separate survey that involved 1250 children aged 8-16, over two thirds, 68%, said that they too has seen verbal abuse during school matches and over a half, 51%, admitted that they had been at the receiving end of taunts, teasing and threats while on the playing field. A majority of 55% also said they had witnesses physical violence, with a quarter saying that they had seen one of their team mates deliberately kicked, tripped or knocked over.

The MCC and Chance to Shine, the grass roots sports campaign, have collaborated to teach youngsters to play matches in a competitive yet sporting manner, and are delivering the nationwide scheme to try and encourage fair play in the nations schools. The Chance to Shine coaches are delivering both lessons and assembly’s to get across the message of good sportsmanship to around 500,000 pupils in state schools, as part of the MCC’s Spirit of Cricket scheme.