BULLYING is not “app-ening” in Sunderland.
That is the message from students who are determined to make sure there are no victims in Wearside’s schoolyards.
Scores of pupils entered a competition to design a special anti-bullying app for smartphones.
Children at primary and secondary schools were invited to design an anti-bullying app to download on to mobiles to get help, support and advice.
More than 100 entries were received, and winners from two age categories – five to 10 years old and 11 to 16 – were announced by the Deputy Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Iain Kay, at a presentation in the Mayor’s Parlour.
Top of the class were Jodie Daglish, 10, from Newbottle Primary, and Emily Hunt, 11, from Southmoor Community School, who received an Apple iPod donated by housing group Gentoo.
Jodie’s winning design, called Bully Bumper, has links to advice lines and features a bullying puzzle which children can use to ask questions and receive answers about problems they are facing.
Jodie said: “I was amazed to find out I’d won, and I hope my app will help because I don’t think anyone should have to suffer bullying.
“I think the bullies do it because they can’t find anything else better to do and don’t realise the effects it has on people because it hurts their feelings.”
The winning app designed by Emily includes helpline buttons, a chat button to free anti-bullying websites which automatically block cyber bullying, tips on what to do if you are being bullied and how to become more self-confident.
There is also a diary that young people can write in which is accessible to their parents and allows them to record any experiences they feel uncomfortable talking about.
Emily said: “I don’t like it when people get bullied, so I decided to design an app to help stop or prevent it.
“It includes a diary page to fill in about their experiences which might help parents understand how their children feel. It might help the children too feel more confident about themselves.”
Certificates were also presented to Albany Primary School and Venerable Bede Secondary School for running the most innovative activities during Anti-Bullying Week, which place took in November.
Albany Primary School held an Albany Bully Busters Day where children came in dressed as superheroes and there was also a visit from the Magic Club of Great Britain, who used magic tricks to help encourage and involve pupils in thinking about bullying in different ways.
The Venerable Bede C of E Voluntary Aided Secondary School received its certificate after totally revamping its anti-bullying system and selling 300 anti-bullying wristbands.
Coun Pat Smith, portfolio holder for children and learning city, at Sunderland City Council, said: “The competition was a great way of getting young people’s ideas on how to tackle bullying, with our strategy and approach in Sunderland led by children and young people themselves.
“Pupils from schools across the city have been meeting regularly to share their views and opinions, and describe what solutions work at their schools so the best ideas can be shared.
“Young people are getting actively involved in looking at how to tackle what is a national problem. They are determined and articulate and will no longer put up with bullying, and I can sense a real cultural change in schools.”