Shortland Street tackles a controversial but prevalent issue this week, when teenage bullying is addressed.
According to a study supported by the New Zealand Police
(conducted by Dr Gabrielle Maxwell and Janis Carroll-Lind) high
levels of both physical and emotional bullying goes on in our
It was found that within any particular year it is likely that at least half, and perhaps as many as three quarters of children are bullied.
With the introduction of several new teenage characters on Shortland Street, producer Steven Zanoski believes that bullying is an important topic for the show to deal with.
"Despite social change in education and an ability to communicate with a far wider range of people, cultures and groups than ever before, bullying persists in being the number one issue affecting teenagers in every generation," says Zanoski. "It's a sad fact that technological advances - the internet and text messaging - have only added extra platforms for this destructive behaviour to thrive."
"The aim of the story on Shortland Street is to illustrate how distressing bullying can be to its victims, even when the perpetrators don't realise the far reaching effects their tormenting can have," Zanoski continues.
On the show, it's discovered that Maxwell's (Robbie Magasiva) daughter Ula (Frankie Adams) is tormenting Wendy's (Jacqueline Nairn) daughter Jasmine (Pearl McGlashan) whilst at Ferndale High.
"Ula's having a hard time settling in to her new school, and I think that bullying Jasmine is a way of coping with her loneliness," says Adams. "What she's doing is incredibly wrong through, and I hope she can see some sense soon and start to treat others as she would like to be treated."
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