Bullying at schools: prevention and methods of combating
We all remember Stephen King’s story «Carrie», where the main character is a girl who suffered because of her extraordinary appearance and unusual mental characteristics.
This story is about bullying and school. It is about badgering, intimidation, and harassment. This word is new for people but the phenomenon is the same. According to the U.N. using 2006 data, every tenth student is experienced the act of violence in the school. Moreover, this figure is rising. More and more frequently we can see many frightening titles in the mass media: «The teenagers posted the video of beating their classmate» or «The girl committed suicide because of the bullying is the school».
The problem of bullying is a modern and acute social issue. We cannot ignore it, because the child’s brutality sometimes crosses the boarders.
This article is written for all parents, children, and teachers who have faced such a challenge like bullying and harassment in school and also for people who won’t protect their kids from this awful phenomenon of out modernity.
- Bullying is a type of violence
- Causes and motives of bullying
- How to understand that your child is a victim of bullying?
- Who participates in bullying?
- Bullying impact and consequences
- How to deal with bullying at school?
- Prevention of school bullying
Bullying is a type of violence
«Bullying» was formulated by the Norwegian psychology professor from the University of Bergen Dan Olweus. He gave the first definition of this term — «the kind of violence suggesting the aggressive prosecution one of the members of the team».
Always undertook the first study of bullying among Norwegian and Swedish students. In practice, however, he has realized that 15% of children regularly face the bullying in their schools, 9% are victims of bullying, 7% of kids are aggressors, and 2% of students act as both.
The results of a new modern study of bullying, according to the USA research using 2016 date, shown: 13% of students are suffered from verbal bullying, 12% are victims of gossips, 5% of children face physical abuse and about 5% are now welcome by their classmates at all.
The same phenomenon exists in the team of adult people. It is called mobbing consisting of harassment, silent treatment, and whistle-blowing. The researchers say that 135 from 185 workers have faced mobbing many times in their work lives.
Types of bullying
What are the different types of bullying:
- physical – is using one’s body and physical bodily acts to exert power over peers. Punching, kicking and other physical attacks are all types of physical bullying;
- verbal – threats, insults, mockeries and indignity;
- social-psychological – the type of bullying leading to the exclusion from society and isolation (gossips, speculations, silent treatment, manipulations);
- economical – extortion or theft of money, things, spoiling of clothes;
- cyber bullying – bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyber-bullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. It is the most dangerous and the youngest type of bullying because there is no way to surely protect from it. Bullying and suicide, more commonly called «bullycide», is defined as a death by suicide where bullying is the causative factor. The most famous accident of it happened in the USA in 2006 when 13 years old girl with her mother mocked the other girl in the social network «My space». The victim couldn‘t stand the harassment and committed suicide.
The features of modern bullying in schools
First of all, commonly bullying happens in cyber-space because social networks and messengers are very popular in our days. Every person can think of a new name and text any person everything he or she wants. Teenagers use this opportunity to abuse people because they think that they will not be punished for their words and actions. Student sends aggressive and obscene videos and photos to other people, text them offensive comments.
One more meaningful fact is girls participating in bullying. Whereas earlier boys used to be the aggressors, now the ratio is 50:50. The number of girls taking part in bullying is raising.
And furthermore, the teacher can be the victim of bullying at school too. Earlier students could only put some glue on the teacher‘s chair, but now they are able to insult and humiliate the teacher during the lesson, to spit in his eye or even hit.
School shooting as a result of bullying
One more phenomenon of modern society is a school shooting. It’s mean an attack at educational institutions, such as a primary school, secondary school, or university, involving the use of firearms. The school shooting has extended over a wide because of the accident in the school in Columbine in the USA. In April 1999 two students shooted 13 people and killed themselves after that.
The latest big accident occurred a couple of months ago. A 14-year-old kid shot and injured 10 children at a playground at Wynbrooke Elementary School.
These accidents are dire. These accidents are flagrant. But even more tragic that the killers were the victims of bullying and scamming. The desperate students took up arms and shot the abusers.
Causes and motives of bullying
Let‘s try to find out the reasons causing bullying. What makes children be aggressive and violent towards their peers?
There are a lot of different causes. Let‘s divide them into a few groups:
- pedagogical (microclimate of the class, school). Not the least here is the position of the teacher. A child is more likely to be harassed if a teacher allows students to mock and humiliate others. Besides, a teacher can be simply a bystander and doesn‘t intervene in the situation.
- psychological (personalities of aggressors and victims).
- social (promotion and fostering of a dominating and aggressive behavior in the society, on TV, on the internet, and in computer games).
- family-related (lack of parent‘s love and attention, physical and verbal aggression from parents, excessive control).
As for the motives, they can be:
- revenge (when the victim becomes bullier, trying to punish the accusers for his own suffering);
- a self-affirmation in the collective;
- a commitment to be in the spotlight, to look tough;
- a wish to counteract the rival trying to humiliate him.
How to understand that your child is a victim of bullying?
Children don‘t share all of their problems with adults. That‘s why parents need to recognize the symptoms of bullying in time. The following things may indicate it. Child:
- has a negative view of the school, tries to catch every possibility to miss the classes;
- comes back at home being down;
- cries often without any reason;
- doesn‘t tell about his/her school life and schoolmates;
- has a bad appetite and sleep;
- there are many bruises and abrasions on his or her body and face.
Who participates in bullying?
In bullying usually takes part a victim, an aggressor, and bystanders. They are all participants of bullying.
No matter what is the cause of bullying. More often as victims act the children:
- with physical disabilities or developmental characteristics (decreased audibility or visibility, VBCs and etc);
- insecure, reserved, anxious and with low self-esteem;
- with unusual appearance (freckles, plumpness/thinness and etc);
- with low intellect and studying problems;
- teacher‘s «darlings» or outcasts.
The impossibility to confront their bulliers unites them all. They can‘t fight back and protect themselves.
A would-be bully is a person:
- with low self-esteem which he or she tries to increase through humiliating others;
- who try to be in the spotlight whatever it takes;
- aggressive, violent, prone to dominance and manipulation;
- with family and child-adult problems.
As aggressors can be children from dysfunctional families as well as from families with high financial positions.
It is the biggest category of participants of school bullying. Bystanders are people who got involved in bullying. There are three options of course of the situation. A bystander can stand for a victim, putting his own neck on the line and risking to become a new victim. Also, he or she can have a passive attitude not intervening in bullying. And the third way is the supporting of the aggressor and helping him to humiliate others.
Bullying impact and consequences
Aggressors get a sense of self-worth and coolness with the help of abusing others. They consider themselves to be omnipotent and unpunished. They have more and more destructive thoughts that destroy their personalities. Their deviant behavior may lead them to the Commission for Minors.
Bystanders get tremendous guilt and shame because they failed in helping the victim or even didn‘t try to do it.
The most serious psychological trauma has stroked to the victim. Even being adult, victims remember all painful experiences connecting with bullying.
Psychologists point out that school bullying is comparable with domestic violence of the severity.
- A victim can have psychosomatic ailments: headaches, sleep and eat issues, chronic diseases may be exacerbated.
- Depressive disorders, anxiety, specific neurotic disorders.
- The most serious reactions to the bullying are attempts to commit suicide and school shootings when the child cannot stand the harassment anymore and wants to take revenge using explosives and cold steel.
How to deal with bullying at school?
What if the child is a victim?
- If you are being bullied at school, other people name you, spoil your clothes, so tell everything adults: parents, teachers, senior friends. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a good mature solution of a person getting in trouble.
- Don‘t be afraid of everything getting worse if you tell someone about bullying. It will be worse if you are alone with your problem and have no one to protect you.
- If you are being bullied on the Internet, keep all messages, voice messages, videos and photos in order to use it like proofs of the crime.
- If you can remedy the reason for bullying — do it. If you cannot — don‘t think you are guilty.
How parents should behave?
If your child being bullied at schools, remember the following:
The first and the main point — help your child to deal with the feeling of guilty!
Explain that it is not his or her fault. In no case, the kid is worse than others. Things happen, and this situation is awful but all adults can help to cope with it.
- Let the child know that you are on his or her side. Support and calm down kid: «That is so good that you have told me everything! I believe in you. You are not to blame. I will help you to move on».
- Talk to the child about the situation. Explain to him or her further actions and the line of acting.
- Help the kid to gain confidence in things where he or she is brilliant. Teach the kid to confront people‘s harassment.
- Have a talk with the headteacher, other teachers, and the aggressor‘s parents.
If the situation is much serious and you cannot resolve it peacefully, try to find a new school or class. This is an extreme case because you cannot be sure that the same situation will not happen again in a new school.
Talking about cyberbullying: if the bully is known for you, lockdown him and send yours complaint to the administration of the site. If the aggressor is anonymous, print out the messages, make screenshots, download videos and photos and after that go to the police-office.
A large role of a parent is not only to protect the child but also to teach him or her how to communicate with people around the kid rightly. It is really hard to avoid violence and aggression in our everyday life. A kid must know how to say «no», not to succumb to the provocation of peers and to know that it is not bad to share problems with adults, that they can help to solve them, and it is better than to do it completely alone — the family doesn‘t repulse, but support in a difficult hour.
Prevention of school bullying
Any phenomenon is better to prevent than to deal with its consequences, and school bullying is not an exception. The prevention of violence at school is the right attitude of adults to this problem.
Dear teachers! That is impossible for you not to know what is going on with your students and to ignore the aggressive behavior of some students. Any information about violence must be checked and take into mind. Besides, it is highly necessary to pay attention to the formation of groups of children in the class and the identification of «outcasts» and «black sheep». Also, follow your students on the Internet and pay attention to the posts and comments. That is not a call for the violation of student‘s privacy, but it is the method to prevent violence and to protect your students. You are to organize team-building events, trips, tours, and visits. Involve a school psychologist and a counselor, cooperate with families. Don‘t be insensitive!
Dear parents! Tell your children about bullying and how they can protect from it. Explain to them that telling everything to the adults is the best mature solution, but not the act of weakness.
Children! You are only starting to live. During your life, you can meet many bad, cruel, unfair things. Try to be stronger than the evil, learn to say «no», when somebody makes you do something bad, to confront the bully. Find your friends of interests, hang out only with the people who respect and appreciate you.
Now you know almost everything about bullying at school. Of course, the modern world is cruel and dangerous. And the main hazard is ourselves. Don‘t ignore reality. If you see the situation of bullying, sound the alarm, try to find out how to help the person and solve the problem.