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MSPY interview with Dr. Sairah Qureshi, Anti-Bullying Consultant and Specialist

MSPY interview with Dr. Sairah Qureshi, Anti-Bullying Consultant and Specialist

Bullying be it physical, emotional or online is beyond disturbing. mSpy, your #1 parental control app has always been against bullying in any form. mSpy had a privilege of having an exclusive interview with the founder of Action Against Bullying, LLC Dr. Sairah Qureshi.


What is the main mission of “Action Against Bullying”?

Dr. Sairah Qureshi:

Action Against Bullying, LLC (AAB), is an organization specialized in training teachers and guidance counselors in bullying prevention and providing support to parents, young people and the community.

What makes Action Against Bullying unique from other organizations is the specialized academic and practical knowledge from examining bullying, not only from an educational and psychological perspective but also from the socio-economic angle. It thus allows for a broader pro-active bullying, including racism and racist bullying prevention training curriculum in schools, for educators and the community.

Action Against Bullying provides bullying prevention that addresses the core issues from recognizing why bullying occur through to creating awareness on group physical exercise as effective means to reduce or eradicate bullying by developing an environment of inclusion, tolerance, and respect.

Additionally, AAB is DASA certified (Dignity For All Students Act), and officially a contract vendor for all NYC public schools and work has been conducted at schools in New York as well as in New Jersey.


Being involved in kids’ online safety, what are the biggest online dangers children are exposed to in this digital age?

Dr. Sairah Qureshi:

Children and young people are exposed largely to online bullying (Cyberbullying), sexual harassment, sexting (sexual bullying via exposure of nude pictures of the victim) and more alarmingly pedophilia.


Of all the dangers you mentioned which one is the most dangerous for kids and why?

Dr. Sairah Qureshi:

I would not say that there are one most dangerous online hazards for children and young people, primarily because the result can lead to either suicide or murder. However, Cyberbullying, Sexting or sexual bullying and pedophilia are the most dangerous online hazards that children and young people are exposed to.

Regarding Cyberbullying and Sexting, the victims are targeted 24/7. The perpetrators are more than likely unable to be identified, and the gradual mental decline can have severe adverse impacts upon the victim from health issues; dropping of grades; to ultimately committing suicide!

Pedophilia most often results in the gradual grooming of a child or teen by an adult pretending to be a similar age, garnering the trust of the victim and finally when they meet in person, the perpetrator subjects their victim to sexual molestation; rape; kidnap and even murder!


In your opinion, how has the Internet changed parenting?

Dr. Sairah Qureshi:

Over the period and rise in the usage of the Internet, smartphone use as well as media awareness, parenting has now taken a shift from developing the need to moderate their child’s Internet activity, but also the Internet has also increased the breakdown in communication between children and their parents.

Quite often parents are too lax in allowing their children to spend so much time on the Internet and often being unaware what they are doing. Whether chatting with school friends, virtual friends, through to watching pornography!

Parents have also used the Internet as a means to be a quick fix for their child’s entertainment. In situations where parents have more than one child and working full-time. In addition to taking care of the home etc, being able to give proper attention to each child becomes more challenging. Thus fall on the Internet as a support!

While some parents take note of what is going on in their child or children’s lives, many are simply losing touch with how their child’s minds are being developed. For instance, at social gatherings, children who are in the minority, rather than bringing a book or toy to keep them occupied, or even engaging with adults, will spend their time glued to their iPhone and IPad.


Were you bullied growing up? If yes, how did you overcome it?

Dr. Sairah Qureshi:

Growing up in the North East of England in the late 70’s and 80’s, I did face quite a bit of bullying; primarily it was verbal and more directed at my ethnicity. I often also was the only South Asian girl or ethnic minority in the school, so was targeted for cultural, physical and religious reasons.

More born out of racial ignorance and prejudice and this particularly was at the primary level where I attended co-educational schools. Unfortunately, the word or terminology ‘bullying’ was never heard of, and support from the school was poor. As most of my bullying was verbal, I was advised to just ‘ignore’ it by my parents whom both were immigrants in the UK, while my brother, sister and I were born and raised in the UK, so they had little knowledge or advice on how to deal with the recurrent bullying.

At one school where the bullying got so bad my parents redrew me after a year, but still, I was advised just to ignore it. Moreover, teachers would repeat the rhyme “Sticks and Stones may break your bones, but names will never harm you.” The situation ultimately left me feeling depleted, unconfident, (as I had no idea I was dyslexic till my mid 30’s) and not performing well in exams also resulted in being a target.

I was very much of an introvert, keeping most of my feelings to myself. I remember, in the primary school where I actually stuck it out through high school, there were two or three girls whom I got on well with, but one girl was also a target of bullying due to her buckteeth and for me, my ethnicity and a large nose. Two girls, well supported by the boys in our class, bullied the two of us incessantly! However, I also received racial prejudice from kids in other schools when walking to and fro to school.

I ultimately blocked so much of the trauma out, but carried a very negative perception of myself especially my looks and academic performance! Having said this, however, I feel the extent of bullying, particularly due to online bullying has exceeded so much more regarding malicious intent and duration.


Given all these online dangers, do you think parents need help with parental control apps?

Dr. Sairah Qureshi:

Absolutely! Parents need as much support in being made aware of all online dangers that their children can be exposed to and support in how to help control, without breaking the trust or confidence of their child. But in all actuality, develop a closer bond through a common and mutual understanding.

Where parents can be given the essential tools, advice on using them as well as how to communicate with their children. As a result, this not only will provide the ultimate mental security and protection their child needs but also educate parents to the full extent of the horrors children can be faced with because of the internet!

Parents thus can also be involved more with addressing online dangers in the school as well as in the community!

About Dr Sairah Qureshi

Dr Sairah Qureshi is the founder of Action Against Bullying, LLC, established in March 2015. She has had over 10 years of academic experience and over 7 years as a consultant and practitioner in the field of bullying and bias-based bullying. She earned her PhD in Sociology and Criminology in the UK. She has advised local authorities on school bullying, participated in and evaluated school training manuals on bullying as well as delivered extensive public outreach work to children and young people on the subject of school bullying and racism both in the US and the UK.

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