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HELP! player having personal problems with online bullying?

Just briefly, a player in my team is having some problems with bullying online, but does not wish for me or her parents to know. one of the other players is aware of this and has informed me of the situation. without being too involved i just told the player who told me to keep tabs on the situation incase it gets worse. I understand as a coach, i have a recponcibility towards my players welfare but at the same time i want them to be able to trust me.. im 19, and my question is, as some of you are older adults, what would you do?my girls are U13s

Under your duty of care it would be advisable for you to share that information with the player's parent and by doing so give them the opportunity to help their child deal with it. You do have a responsibility for your player's welfare but they must be able to trust that you act in their best interests in your role as coach which does not include withholding information from parents. 

As a teacher, coach and long time youth mentor, you certainly have an obligation to the child's best interests which involve disclosing any information you have at hand to the parents of the child being bullied.

Whether it occurs regularly or not, that is not up to you to decide and it is important you take any reporting from another child seriously. Whether they say it was a once off or not.

It doesn't have to be a big deal, just quickly inform the parent during a game, during warm up or some other time when the child is not around.

Be discrete, the girl really doesn't need to know the information came from you.

i agree with everything above, as a coach, and parent of a child that age.  I would certainly want to know if this was happening and you can do it with concern for the girl.  I would just say to the parent that you would like to meet them away from the game etc and in private and then just state your case.  No parent would condemn you for that.  Only being young yourself I undertstand it would be a daunting experience, but if it was my daughter I would be very grateful to you for bringing it to my attention.

As a teacher, coach and older adult I concur with Liam. It also depends on whether the team is school or club based. If school based then you need to pass on this information to an "upine" person - year advisor, head of welfare, homeroom teacher or similar if you work at the school or the netball organiser if you are an outside coach. At club level, the coaching convenor would be a good person to speak to. Apart from your duty of care, you have a responsibility to report such incidents under the working with children legislation, and speaking to any of these would meet that.

It is good that the other player has come to you - while you don't want to break the trust, your WWC responsibilities are greater. However, this can be done discretely as Liam suggests. I expect you are not that much older that the players you are coaching, so ask for guidance from your mentors. 

Finally, when a child/adolescent opens with the feared "I want to tell you someting but you have to promise not to say anything", it is best to NOT promise - then you don't break it if they tell you something you have to disclose. Try saying "I'll do my best but there are some things I really can't keep to myself. However, this is clearly worrying you, so tell me all about it..."

Sorry for long response but this is a minefield area. Good luck!

I absolutely agree with all the other responses. You really do have a duty of care to your players to look after their welfare. In my experience even though the child doesn't want their parents to know, it is also a huge relief for them once a trusted adult knows.

If you feel a bit daunted by telling the parents on your own, ask another coach or senior person from your club to be there with you to help.

Good luck.

 

as a parent i would want to know about something like this, as it can get very nasty, and because its online, there is no escape from it.  many kids this age do not have the ability or maturity on how to deal with these situations, and it can go from a few mean words online, to this child having this type of bullying in every facet of their small world very quickly.  talking with the parents is very important, and just talking in general to your team about any personal experience you have had in this area will help them feel like they are not alone, without being singled out.  don't make it a lecture, just talk about an incident you "heard" about from a sibling, friend, or about an article you have read.  even talk about the Amelda incident, as she was cyber bullied recently too.  keep it upbeat and general, and if this person wishes to participate in the conversation cool, if not don't pay give her lack of participation any attention.  but maybe end it with saying that if anyone ever finds themselves in this very common situation then talk with mum or dad, or a trusted adult, or even yourself, to get some help and guidance.  the part most kids struggle with is understanding that saying..."what people say about you, says more about them, than you."

i hope she gets some support and help.

but keep going. Acknowledge that you know that she did not want you to know, but that it is okay that you do know and that you are there to support her. With a little bit of encouragement she should open up because she trusts you and are being genuine about her welfare. You could then say, "Look I don't have alot of experience with this and I do need to have a talk with your mum and dad about it." Cindy may oppose this but just reassure her that nothing bad is going to happen and that it is about looking after her and that it is about stopping the bullying that is happening. Cindy will trust you, because you already have an established relationship there. It is a serious enough situation that her friend has come to you, because she trusts you. Cindy is looking for the help, otherwise she would not have told her friend, who has now told you. Cindy is not mature enough to know what is good for her and that is why it would be good for you to step in and give her some help. All bullying is serious.

If it is still happening, I would advise her to block to bullying persons involved. Whatever Cindy does could I also advise please don't delete the material that has been written to Cindy on the internet. If it requires police intervention, then this information is beneficial for required investigation. You don't have to have all the answers, just be there for her and guide her to people who do.

At the end of the day Cindy wants and needs this bullying to stop and there are heaps of different strategies that can be adopted to resolve this matter.

Ashleigh if you need any help with this matter feel free to email my work email on stea1mar@police.nsw.gov.au I will forward a contact number that you or her parents can call me on, and i'll have a chat and offer some advice. No problems.

It's great you put this on to get some advice, keep up the graet work you are doing with the girls.

Hope this helps, Thanks Mark

Hi Ashleigh, sorry, I wrote more in front of the above text but seemed to have lost the first portion of the message when I sent it. ( and I used the name Cindy for the name of the bullied girl). I work for the police and specialize in the area of Youth.

If you or the girls parents want to talk about the issue with me to get some advice please contact Campbelltown Police and Community Youth Club on (02) 96038229 and i'll help out as best I can.

Bullying is serious and just want to make sure the girls situation is sorted.  I would advise that you do talk to the girl and could supply some tips on how to address it properly at whatever level it needs to be done. 

Thanks again - Mark

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