On February 11th 2019, Mia Roje, a psychologist from Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb, was guest on HRT’s Studio 4 concerning a new case of peer violence in a school in Zadar. HRT published following text on their webpage:
“After the case of “branding” in Zadar, there has been a renewed interest in the issue of juvenile and peer violence in schools. Society should react immediately after the violence emerges, not after it escalates, as it has happened in Zadar.
– I think we are all responsible for preventive action. Children don’t just wake up violent one day and beat up some other child. Where were we when that child was six or seven? Parents are responsible for raising children but that is harder today than it has ever been before. Children are “bombarded” with various violent contents. How can we tell a child not to be violent, not to swear, not to steal, if people that fill our headlines behave like that? That is how children learn violent behavior, says Mia Roje, psychologist from Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb.
Parents have a difficult task of “being a dam” between what the society offers children and what they want their children to become.
– It is necessary to talk to children. We can’t say that the media has corrupted our children and that there is nothing we can do about it, says Mia Roje.
She emphasizes the importance of media and whether it will show an unacceptable behavior in a sensationalist way or will it condemn it.
– It’s very bad when things are hushed up. Some schools stress out that there is no violence happening there, but of course there is. This actually leads to a countereffect. Children are also assessing which kinds of behaviors get rewarder and which don’t.
Both the parents and the institutions have an important role.
– School is an educational institution, but it also has an important role in raising children. Child’s behavior is a symptom of both the society and the environment they grow up in. What is needed is prevention, not reaction after “branding” happens. And then media reports on the event in a very sensationalist way, and soon after everything is forgotten.
In addition to physical violence, there is also emotional violence. It may not leave physical scars but it is just as dangerous.
– If one child is mocking another one in class, the teacher should stop the class for five minutes and talk about it, send the message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, both in school and at home. Children are the most vulnerable group, and the child who is being bullied often thinks that what is happening is somehow his fault, concludes Mia Roje.