Bullying is a National Concern in Our Schools and Society
Bullying is a subject that has generated a lot of attention over the past years across society because of its common nature. Bullying in society is highly associated with the presence of people from different backgrounds, religion, gender, appearance, or race. Discussing ignorance in society especially amongst the parents in relevant to the subject that forms prime issues contributing to the existence of bullying. The topic of bullying was chosen, by me, for analysis because it has become a national concern in our schools and society.
The articles chosen for analysis were selected due to their content and research on bullies, their victims, parenting style, and the environmental factors that make bullying possible. This provides the causes of bullying, the characteristics of a bully and their victims, and how society influences this behavior at home and in school. Parenting style and methods are at the root of the development of a bully, therefore it is a learned behavior. The study also evaluates the causes and characteristics of a victim.
It was found that victims are chosen due to their vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities allow a bully to abuse a victim without retaliation. The literature supports that social skills intervention and counseling, as well as support and guidance through parents and educators, can provide these children with the necessary skills to improve self-esteem and improve their assertiveness skills. In the past years, bullying has attracted a lot of attention because of its frequency. Bullying involves the use of power or threat to abuse or coerces others.
It can also be defined as the use of force to achieve control over others. According to Olweus (1999), bullying can also be explained as an aggressive subset of behaviors with recurring aggression and in which, power imbalance occurs to an extent where the victim is not in a position to defend himself or herself. The problem today has been quite recurrent and occurs even in the workplaces as well as cyberspace. The event is often interlinked with the presence of differences in the society especially on race, religion, sexuality, size, ability, gender, and strength (Erickson, 2006).
Say the word “bully” to almost anyone you know, and the stories will flow. Whether it was from a personal experience or something they read or heard on television. The stories we hear cause considerable alarm in parents and teachers. Teachers, parents, and students believe that young people have the right to feel safe, secure, accepted, and valued at school. Creating this atmosphere has become a challenge. Parents, teachers, and even legislators have responded to the acts of violence occurring in the schools. In a few states, legislators have even introduced new laws cracking down on harassment, hazing, and violence in schools (Oade, A, 2009). Several experts have taken a closer look at this behavior to determine the cause of bullying, and how we may correct it. Even more importantly how we may empower the victim. In the article, “Overcoming Bullying Behavior,” (MacKay, J. (2013)) bullying was described as “one or more individuals inflicting physical, verbal, or emotional abuse on another-including threats of bodily harm, weapon possession, extortion, civil rights violation, assault and battery, gang activity, attempted murder, and murder.” Other experts add sexual harassment to the list of bullying behaviors. Victims not only get victimized by the bully, but they get revictimized by a portion of their peer group as well. Children become less sympathetic to victims as they grow older almost one-third of adolescents surveyed said they could understand why the bully chose the victim (Weber, N. L. (2014)).
Simply put, bullying is when someone hurts or scares another person on purpose. Bullying, intimidation, and harassment are aggressive behaviors – words, actions, or social exclusions – that intentionally hurt or harm another person. The bully is physically, verbally, or socially stronger than the victim. Although both genders use physical and non-physical tactics, boys tend to bully physically while girls tend to use social exclusion and gossip as weapons. (HealthinSchools.org.2004) Misplaced sentiment has it that being bullied is part of growing up and builds character. This unfortunate and dismissive attitude underlies a seeming acceptance of bullying and leads to more of the same harmful behavior. Many researchers now believe that effective intervention and a school climate that has clear rules and social norms against bullying can reduce and eventually eliminate this inappropriate behavior. School policy and school climate should reflect the social norms of the community the community should inform and support school policy and school climate. Witnessing bullying can be an experience that teaches the witness many of the same lessons that the victim learns…. lessons about power, justice, social responsibility, and courage (or, sadly and more significantly, the lack of these). Passive acceptance of bullying behaviors creates a school climate that allows bullying to continue and even escalate. If teachers and other adults in the school are among the passive observers of bullying, the message is sent that bullying is condoned as a part of school life.
The rate of bullying across the society has increased significantly with different reports having realized that up to 15percent of students are being regularly bullied and others have become initiators of the vice itself (Olweus, 1993). However, the limits of the subject were extended to cyberspace as well as workplaces where bullying is increasing tremendously (Cowie, Naylor, Rivers, Smith & Pereira, 2002). The dimensions of bullying in society today have created a dire need for addressing the issue based on the fact that it has been accorded little attention. It has also been noted that perpetrators of bullying in school years keep on with the behavior during adulthood. In a research study carried on those evaluated as bullies among grades 6-9, 60 percent had already one legal conviction at the age of 24 years (Olweus, 1993). Bullying subjects on the other hand have also been exposed to school isolation by their peers and therefore, they are not willing to mingle with them lest they lose their status as well as placing themselves at risk of being intimidated (Olweus, 1993). Additionally, bullying at the workplace has also generated a lot of concerns because it has been identified as one of the common issues in the working environment. Many professional organization departments and trade unions are being enlightened on bullying in form of social exclusion, intimidation, public humiliation, and calling of offensive names which have the ability to reduce an individual’s integrity as well as confidence leading to a reduction in efficiency of workers. Those bullied also report how the act affected them physically and mentally with other more complaints of stress, depression, and low self-esteem (Olweus, 1993). Cyberbullying is one of the dimensions of bullying and has grown to a noticeable extend with its impact on victims seen in different suicide cases amongst the youths (Schneider, O’Donnell, Stueve, & Coulter, 2012).
Parents and teachers need guidance to better understand bullies and victims. Educating parents and staff about bully/victim characteristics are not only necessary in identifying potential bullies and victims but is vital in how to intervene. Learning about the characteristics of a bully/victim, and the parenting styles that might influence a child to become a bully or a victim. May lead educators and parents to various interventions that will not only create a bully-free school but will teach our children to be respectful, productive citizens of society. Approximately one in seven schoolchildren is a bully or a victim, and the problem directly affects about five million elementary and junior high students in the United States (StopBullying.gov.). There isn’t a clear reason why a child may become a bully, but Mackay (2013) felt environmental factors can lead to the development of bullying behaviors. The pattern of behavior can begin as early as age two the older the child becomes, the more difficult change will be. Mackay (2013) also felt child bullies are at greater risk for problems in the future. For example, by age thirty, 25 percent of the adults who had been identified as bullies as children had a criminal record.
In addition, bullying prevalence in society can be defined by the fact that little attention has been given to the matter. Parents in many situations are not even aware of the problem and they do not discuss the problem with their children in most cases (Olweus, 1993). In the end, victims of bullying are persuaded that the intervention of parents or adults would not be significant but would instead worsen the problem. This can also be explained by the fact that little attention has been given to the matter and more specifically on educating the public on the subject as well as its effects on perpetrators and victims (Charach, Pepler, & Ziegler 1995).
It is difficult for parents to view their child objectively, but viewing your child’s personal style and social skills is a vital first step in protecting them from bullies. If you are unsure if her personal style isolates her from peers. Ask teachers or other parents who know your child about her social and behavioral skills. As suggested earlier, encouraging your daughter to invite friends in or offering to drive them to movies will provide an open opportunity to observe her in a social context. Most children who are victimized are ashamed and embarrassed to tell their parents. Oade(2009) believes if your child is being victimized, they will not tell you about it. In order to protect your child. You will have to take an active role in observing his behavior, talking with him in ways that encourage him to discuss his problems and demonstrating your ability to help him stop the bullying quickly and permanently so that he can get on with his life. Oade (2009) feels the following warning signs may indicate that your child is being victimized at school, at home, in the neighborhood, or elsewhere: If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, he needs your help. Be prepared to investigate further if your child doesn’t provide an explanation. Questioning adults who spend time with him such as, his teacher, school bus driver, and friends whether they have noticed any incidents involving him. If they haven’t noticed anything don’t assume anything is wrong. Clinical Psychiatry News, (2001) stated victimized children and teenagers who lack adult interest are most likely to turn to drastic remedies as suicide and other forms of violence. Bullying is no longer seen as “funny” or “cool,” and students are much more likely to help and support a victim than they might have been before. Through class discussions and counseling sessions, students learn a great deal about the dynamics of aggression and the importance of addressing problems before they grow worse. Weber, N. L. (2014). programs have demonstrated a decrease of bully/victims problem by approximately 50 to 70 percent over the course of two years. Teaching children social skills not only helps children solve immediate problems, but also helps create a better community environment as well. The realization of the issues is also occasioned by the fact that little attention has been accorded to the subject.
Additionally, there have been different cases of other upcoming issues on the subject including workplace bullying and cyberbullying which require drastic measures to ensure their reduction and prevention in the future. Weber, N. L. (2014). states bullying is occurring when the child is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more students. Negative actions are any physical, verbal, or social action in which the bully intentionally causes injury or discomfort. Studies indicate that the most common response to victimization is anger. These bullies lack adult help in channeling their anger in positive ways such as getting their abusers to stop, or expressing their feelings through words or positive actions. Therefore, the bully-victim rids their feelings of victimization by picking on other children. Understanding School Bullying (n.d) considers bully-victims the most potentially violent type of bully. The statistics communicate the need for parents and teachers to have a clear understanding of bullying and victim characteristics and intervention techniques, which would de-escalate the situation. Obviously, a team approach is needed to ensure a “Bully Free” school. The purpose of this study was to investigate bullies, and how these characteristics are developed. It also examined victims, their vulnerabilities, and how these vulnerabilities set them up to be bullied. Some studies found the most effective method for controlling school violence and other forms of cruelty, is a schoolwide intervention program. Bullying is an issue that requires a team approach in our society. Children who feel safe in their environment, not only succeed academically but socially and emotionally as well. To ensure our children are given this opportunity, it takes a concentrated effort on behalf of the school as well as parents.