'Children as young as ten can legally be charged for bullying' - Legal expert

'Children as young as ten can legally be charged for bullying' - Legal expert

The prevalence of bullying has increased a lot because there’s anonymity behind a screen.

Megan Harrison Johnson on Breakfast
Megan Harrison Johnson on Breakfast/Supplied

Megan Harrington Johnson is a child and family lawyer and director of the Safe School Programme which addresses issues like this in South Africa.


 A 13-year-old girl from Pretoria North has taken her life after reportedly being bullied in a WhatsApp group. 


‘What kinds of bullying are we dealing with these days?’, is Martin Bester’s big question.

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Harrington Johnson said, ‘Sending unflattering pictures. Kids as young as 10-years-old are ‘sexting’ each other and the third parties are spreading it. Parents are not aware of it. Parents do not even know the passwords to the kids' phones. Children are very good at hiding what goes on their phones. They are very tech savvy.’


How does a child get to the point of taking a picture of themselves?


‘They often trade pictures. Children dare each other. They want to be cool and fit in and subsequently send the pictures. There is a difference between teasing and bullying. Teasing is a normal process. Bullying is hateful and consistent and targeted.’

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How do we deal with bullying? What are the roles of the teachers? What should you do if your child is the bully? Are the pertinent questions Martin Bester asked.

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