Causes of Bullying in School: How to Fight the Problem?
Bullying is one of the main problems in the contemporary educational environment as it has a great impact on both bullies and their victims. Bullying has detrimental effects on students’ mental and physical health, learning, and well-being. This problem often makes students frightened, lonely, and uncomfortable. Bullying is a problem that affects not only bullies and their victims. Those students, who see bullying in their schools feel uncomfortable and frightened, which greatly affects the learning process. Therefore, in addition to studying the main causes of bullying in school, one should also explore other issues related to this problem because it may lead to many terrible consequences if it remains unsolved.
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Being bullied greatly affects the student’s mental health. It affects how students see themselves, how they communicate with their peers, how they build their self-esteem, how they think about their future, etc. Students, who are the victims of bullying, often suffer from depression, loneliness, shyness, and other mental problems. Such students can bring their fears into their adult life, which can result in poor relationships with their families and other people. You should understand that verbal bullying is as dangerous as physical one. Thus, no matter if you are a student, parent, teacher, or community member, you should do your best to solve the problem. Each person should play his or her role in addressing the problem because only in such a way, it will disappear. No wonder that bullying and its main causes are often a subject for many essays, research papers, reports, and other academic papers. By assigning these tasks, professors do not only want to develop students’ writing and analytical skills but they also want students to consider this problem and understand its importance. Below, you will find detailed information on bullying including the main causes and consequences of bullying, parties involved, types of bullying, and many other points. By studying this information thoroughly, you will get a lot of ideas that can be developed in your academic paper.
What Is Bullying?
In its essence, bullying is a prevalent form of violence, particularly in the school setting. It is characterized by aggressive behavior that occurs repeatedly and is based on power imbalance. Bullying is often confused with aggression, though these are two different forms of violence. Although both of them are harmful to youth, aggression is an occasional conflict between two or more students because of their social status, age, appearance, etc. Bullying may take different forms including physical, emotional, verbal, etc., and occurs on a regular basis.
In school, bullying occurs everywhere. Although it can happen in any part of the school building, it occurs more often in hallways, during school breaks, in bathrooms, school buses, as well as after-school activities. Very often, a group of stronger students is isolating one student in a particular corner under the silent loyalty of bystanders and commits physical and mental harm.
School Bullying: Main Roles
- Victim. A victim is a person, who is often bullied. Typically, he or she has no enough strength or willpower to oppose bullying. Bullying is not only physical, but it can also include name-calling, tearing of clothes, destroying belongings, etc.;
- Bully. A bully is a person, who initiates bullying. He or she may act alone or belong to a group of people doing the same things;
- Bully supporter. Although bully supporters will not initiate bullying on their own, they will join it. They may act along with the bully or they may just support the bully’s actions by laughing. A supporter may promote aggressive behavior of the bully by only appearing on the scene because the bully will harm innocent victims just to impress the bully supporter;
- Defender. A defender is an individual, who is on the victim’s side. Besides, he or she tries to stop bullying or reports about it;
- Onlooker. An onlooker is an outsider, who does not want to watch bullying, thus they go away when it begins. At the same time, they do not report about it and do not do anything to support a victim. In other words, by no actions on their side, onlookers support bullying.
Types of Bullying
The most popular types of bullying include direct bullying, indirect bullying, and cyberbullying. Now, let’s discuss these three types in detail:
- Direct bullying typically combines both physical and verbal bullying. Physical bullying assumes physical harming a victim or their possessions. Very often, bullies are hitting their victims calling them rude names. Verbal bullying involves spoken comments or written information that is emotionally damaging for a victim.
- Indirect bullying is almost always verbal and it is very popular in schools. For instance, a bully may spread false information about their victim to harm his or her reputation or cause humiliation.
- The rise of computer technology gave birth to another type of bullying that is called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying occurs when students use e-mails or popular social media platforms to send damaging content. This content may include the victim’s private photos and videos. By sending them without their consent, bullies can not only affect the reputation of their victims but also hurt their mental health. Similar to cyberbullying, bullies often spread rumors about their victims that hurt the reputation of victims being bullied.
Main Causes of Bullying in School
So, why does bullying happen at school? There are several different causes of bullying. Any student can become a victim regardless of their gender, race, age, religion, and social status.
Understanding the main causes of bullying in school makes it possible to fight it. Some students, who are bullies suffer from low self-esteem whereas others have too much self-confidence. Those students, who have high self-confidence, usually have very little empathy. Whenever they feel threatened, they show their aggression. Although the problem of bullying gains more attention in present-day society, this attention is not enough to fight the problem.
To fight bullying, adults should listen to students and their problems, monitor the atmosphere in students’ groups. Besides, adults can try to reduce the impact of family problems on children because family problems such as divorces, diseases, and many others often become significant causes of bullying.
Effects of School Bullying
Bullying during school years may have long-lasting effects. Students, who are bullied usually have poor academic performance and low interest in extracurricular activities. Besides, they can suffer from self-destructive behavior and unexplained injuries. As for emotional effects, one can mention depression, insomnia, or even suicidal effects. What is more, students, who are bullied usually suffer from various health problems such as headaches and stomach issues. Parents, who do not know how to help their children become overprotective. Those parents and friends, who are not able to help victims of bullying feel their hopelessness. At the same time, bullies also suffer from different health problems. Growing older, they cannot assimilate into the community as they used to prove their strength by power.
Common Myths About School Bullying
There are common myths about bullying that should be interpreted properly.
One should learn to stand up to the bullies.
No need to tell victims to stand again bullies. If they could, they would do it. Those students, who suffer from bullying can no longer deal with the situation. Thus, asking for support is the best decision one can take.
When you are bullied, feel free to hit back.
Hitting back makes things worse because it increases the risks of serious harm. The bully is usually bigger, thus hitting back may make him or her get nervous, which will lead to more serious injuries. Consequently, this suggestion may just escalate the situation.
Words cannot hurt you.
Name-calling is one of the common types of bullying. The scars left by the bully’s words can accompany the individual forever.
We all went through bullying. It is an integral part of human life.
One should understand that it is not normal behavior. Bullying is a serious problem that may have long-lasting effects on all parties involved.
The best way to deal with bullying is to use punishment.
Students, who are involved in bullying are usually unhappy in their lives. Punishment will not improve the situation, thus it is better to find another way to solve the problem. Sometimes, bullies need to get support and understanding to stop doing bad things.
How to Prevent School Bullying?
To improve the learning process, adults should turn the school into a positive environment for students. In particular, they need to find efficient ways to fight aggression and violence allowing the student to focus on study and extracurricular activities. To solve the bullying problem, one should understand that it involves not only bullies and their victims but also many other people including other students, tutors, parents, etc.
After a thorough analysis of the problem, one can admit that solving the problem of bullying is possible only by creating an atmosphere of trust and respect. Adults should guide children informing them about the long-lasting effects both for bullies and their victims.
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Bullying refers to repeated negative behavior expressed towards another person. This can be verbal, physical, or even psychological action that is deliberately directed towards a target. This type of bullying is known as school bullying since it occurs within the school environment. The impact of such actions can be severe both in the short-term and in the long-term. This issue renders children very vulnerable in schools in the absence of careful monitoring and intervention of school management, caretakers and teachers. Boys are likely to be involved in bullying in schools more than girls. They are often involved both as bullies and as the bullied. Girls in schools often engage in bullying in schools albeit indirectly. This often takes the form of social isolation and spreading of negative rumors about their target. This paper explores the problem of school bullying, the magnitude and severity of the problem and solutions that have been proposed to ameliorate the problem.
The Problem of Bullying in Schools
The problem of bullying in schools has been a concern to many researchers. Previous studies have established that 7 percent of children in schools were likely to be victims of bullying. 10 percent of children in schools are not victims but actual bullies who cause harm to others in school. Another 6 percent of children are likely to be both bullies and victims of bullying. On average, 10 percent of children in school are likely to be bullied more than once a week. In the recent past, bullying has been on the rise in many schools. On average, studies indicate that there has been a rise in school bullying by approximately 5-7 per cent. The significance of the problem of bullying cannot be ignored. Studies indicate that 29 per cent of school administrators consider school-bullying as the single-most problematic issue with regard to discipline in schools. Bullying is viewed as a serious public health problem. Boys and girls prefer different ways of bullying their counterparts. Boys always prefer physically bullying methods like pushing, punching and aggression. The girls on the other hand, like resorting to tactics such as spreading rumors, teasing, name calling and talking ill about the others. The girls’ approach is viewed as the most destructive one. This is because it causes more psychological pain and lasts longer thus leaving a bigger impact.
Bullying is problematic because of a number of reasons. The very first problem is that it lowers the self esteem of the victim. Most students who are targeted in school always end up believing that they are incapable of defending themselves from the forces. This antisocial behavior happens to every student regardless of their socioeconomic status. However, many researchers have highlighted that children who come from humble backgrounds are more vulnerable to school bullying.
Recent Severity Statistics on School Bullying Statistics
Statistics show that an overwhelming percentage of children have experienced or witnessed bullying at school. This brings it to a record 40% to 80% in public schools. In every five children, at least two experience regular bullying at school and one of the five has the ability to bully others. It is reported that approximately 160,000 children in America abscond school every day. The sole reason of their absenteeism is fear of being attacked or being intimidated by the other students. Reports also reveal that around 20% of students carry weapons to school as a defense strategy against bullies.
In every academic year, about 22% of the students become victims of bullying. Luckily, the percentage drops down to around 8% as the year progresses. It is also shocking to know that a solid 50% of students actually have knowledge of a student or classmate who transferred to another school because of bullying. Consequently, school results are lowered by approximately 4.5% when children experience bullying at school. It was also noted that approximately 25 % of students allow bullying to take place. This is however possible if the students have not been sensitized enough on the issue and educated on the anti-bullying techniques.
The psychological impacts of school bullying are very severe. For example, bullying is associated with reduced self-esteem among the victims. Studies indicate that 3 out of 4 (75%) victims of school bullying are experience battered self-esteem. Another 23 per cent of children develop battered personality syndromes. Indeed, majority (21 percent) of children who become victims of bullying are likely to develop shyness, solitude, and depression. Anxiety disorders are also common complications associated with bullying both on the part of the bully and the bullied. Many victims of bullying are likely to live in fear, develop somatic challenges, health complications, headaches, and psychological distress.
The problem of bullying in schools is so severe that significant amounts of money have been spent in anti-bullying intervention programs. The bullying prevention summit for example committed more than $130 million to help executes programs targeted bullying in schools. This amount was only meant to implement anti-bullying programs in public schools. Each school district is allocated $ 8000. This indicates that if resources were to be allocated to all the learning institutions, so many resources would be spent. The resources that have been spent in the legislations meant to deal with bullying in schools indicate the severity of the problem of bullying in schools. For example, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights that was recently introduced in the United has hiked spending on bullying. Almost $2 million have been spent so far in anti-bullying strategies.
Policy Implications of the Problem of School Bullying
Given the adverse effects of bullying at school, the government should be keen to make it a public policy issue in every institution of learning. The government can for example help in raising the performance of students at schools by working towards a total eradication of bullying or minimizing the practice among students In order to promote safety in schools, there has to be stronger policy formulations targeting bullying. Given the rise of shootings at schools, a public policy can also go a long way in ensuring safety within the walls of the school and more importantly, reducing the rise of shooters.
Interventions need to focus on addressing bullying at the system level. The popular program that deals with bullying known as Olweus Bullying Prevention Program needs to be strengthened in order to prevent children from being victims of bullying in schools. This program focuses on increased awareness of the severity of the problem and effective monitoring and supervision of children within the school environment. This will help in limiting unacceptable behavior in the school system. Although the program has been doing well in addressing the problem of bullying in schools, its preventive approach needs to be strengthened even as the reactive approach is also sustained.
As a matter of legislation, there is need to establish severe sanctions against bullies. For example, the punishment that is administered against bullies should be severe to deter others from this antisocial act. This is currently not possible given the strong and powerful legislations on child rights and welfare. This policy should be reviewed to create room for protection of the rights, welfare and safety of children in schools. In order for teachers to effectively deal with bullies in schools, they must be allowed deal decisively with such perpetrators of antisocial conducts.
Assertive training of children in schools needs to be given priority in a bid to stem out the problem of bullying in schools. Children need to be taught to generate appropriate assertive and not aggressive reactions towards situations and fellow children in school. This will enhance empowerment of children with adequate psychosocial support critical to coping with perceived frustrations and provocations. However, this should be coupled with social skills training to enable children cultivate healthy social relationships and interactions in the absence of an adult. Treatments focusing on the victims of bullying should include focus on cognitive therapy, emotional support, counseling and even medical treatment in events of physical harm.
Programs targeting bullies should be integrated in such a way that the interventions are multi-faceted at the school level, individual levels and at the altar of the family. For the bullies legislations and intervention strategies need to prioritize ways of helping the bullies to appropriately focus their violence and aggression towards positive ends. For this particular group, cognitive restructuring is necessary. This will help to eradicate dysfunctional thoughts that often disregard the self-esteem, safety and freedom of other children in the same learning environment. The parents of the bullies should be involved in anti-bullying programs. For example, parent skills training in order to help parents monitor the behavior of their children and instill discipline and a sense of responsibility.
The school management needs to introduce anti-bullying programs where children and parents can openly discuss the problem of bullying in schools. This will help victims to feel secure and freely share their challenges with regard to bullying with all teachers. Through anti-bullying programs, even bullies will be able to benefit from learning the dangers and risks associated with bullying. This will enable the bullies to overcome their negative aggression and violence and instead build healthy relationships with their peers within the school environment.
Specific school anti-bullying programs should be introduced and supported by the federal government, the state and the school management and stakeholders. For example, the use of the whole-school approach is critical. This approach demands commitment of the school principal and teachers. As a matter of policy, there should be legislation that requires that teachers, parents and the caregivers must attend to children in all the environments. This strategy aims at ensuring that children are not left unsupervised. This will help reduce opportunities that bullies exploit to cause harm on their victims when left less-supervised. Such vigilance should ensure that the areas where bullying are more likely to ensure that incidences of bullying are reduced.
School bullying remains a real threat to school safety and discipline. The severity of the harm and damage caused by bullying is a reason for the need to develop and execute swift programs both at the school environment and at the family level to ensure that bullying is eliminated. This requires the commitment of both the federal, state governments and the school stakeholders. Policy formulations will particularly help in proving relevant frameworks aimed at addressing the problem. The challenge of school bullying can only be addressed through concerted efforts that bring together all stakeholders in the public and the private sector. This includes, parents, governments, organizations work with the youth and professional trained in dealing with the issues related to bullying.
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