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In Parents, Teachers, Teachers' Advice, Understand Bullying

Bullying in College

Bullying in College

So what is Bullying in College?

Much of modern discussions about bullying have focused on the K-12 experience. But about what to do if bullied in collage? 

At the elementary level, we learn and discuss about what can cause early bullying, and more importantly, what steps can be taken to nip this behavior in the bud and offer more positive guidance to youngsters to hopefully keep them from bullying in the future. Early intervention can be crucial as students begin forming their first personalities and building social skills in the K-5 years.

At the middle school level, the problem deepens as students sometimes are just moving into puberty and abstract thinking. They generally more emotional and are more likely to notice and point out differences in others. At this time, longtime friendships can be challenged as students strive to find new identities or explore new peer groups and social interactions.

At the high school level, bullying can be even more advanced. Students can be larger in size along with larger alliances or peer groups (athletes vs. non-athletes, smart vs. less smart, rich vs. poor, etc.) Higher pressures to perform and do well also can elevate tensions.

Then is all bullying done when the final bell rings or the final graduate crosses the stage at commencement?what to do if bullied in collage?

Not even close.

Workplaces are places where bullies can thrive, whether it’s a supervisor bullying one or more employees, or co-worker vs. co-worker. A bully can be established in any situation where there is the potential for one person to have power over another, whether it’s projects, promotions, or locations.

But there’s another post-high school instance where bullying can also take place: bullying in college.

When it comes to Bullying in College, according to a Health Day News study in 2012, 15 percent of college students studied reported being bullied and nearly 22 percent reported being cases of cyber bullying in college. The study found that when it comes to bullying in college is that 38 percent of students knew someone who was facing cyber bullying in college and about 9 percent said they had done some form of cyber bullying in college on someone else.

Of those who said they’d been cyberbullied, 25 percent said it was through a social networking site, 21 percent through texting, 16 percent through email and 13 percent through instant messages.

Finally, in the same bullying in college study,  42 percent of students said they had seen someone being bullied by another student, 8 percent reported bullying another student, and nearly 15 percent had seen a professor bully a student and 4 percent said they had been bullied by a professor.

Learn more about High School Bullying and Middle School Bullying

What are some of the other reasons why bullying in college and cyber bullying in college can occur? And, what to do if bullied in collage?

  • New targets. The population of a particular high school may go their separate ways after graduation, requiring those with bullying tendencies to either move on with their lives or find others.
  • Less direct authority: Students who go away to college are pretty much on their own, without their parents to try to keep order and intervene. Faculty members certainly prefer order in their classes, they’re much less interested in interpersonal relationships between students than a high school teacher might be. Resident hall advisors or building managers can be a resource, but may focus more on keeping order or putting on programs. Campus security/law enforcement may want to focus more on stopping violent crime on campus vs. mediating in bullying disputes like one would see in a primary school situation.
  • More time together: In high school, students stayed together for 8-10 hours in the classroom or gym, and then return to their homes. In college, especially in dormitory settings, students are together morning, noon and night. Roommates are not always put together by choice, which can cause conflict.
  • More pressure: Academic pressure is higher, plus peer pressure. Too many drinks at a dorm or fraternity party can cause people to focus more of their attention on a ‘weird’ kid.
  • Same factors: If a high school bully copes with their own inadequacies and insecurities by tearing down others, both behaviors will be magnified in a new setting. The new college student will likely feel uncomfortable with new classes, new teachers, new peers, and new procedures, and will return to a way of interacting people he or she is familiar with.
  • Electronic resources: Students can be connected in more ways than ever with Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. This means that even if they aren’t even in the same dorm or even town they can still harass someone else. One would like to think that bullies and their victims from high school would not want to deal with each other anymore if they go to different schools, but if the hate remains strong, there isn’t much that can stop electronic bullying.
  • More freedom: People may use the freedom of college to try things that they were unable to in college, such as coming out as homosexual. These decisions, while difficult for the individual, can also attract new attention from new bullies.

Preface, an online magazine, sums it up well: “A bully can exist wherever boredom and ignorance are found—those factors are a bully’s motivation.”

Recent incidents of bullying in college and cyber bullying in college:

In fall 2012, a Rutgers University student killed himself after his roommate posted information on social networks about his homosexuality. Rather than communicating directly with the roommate or school officials about possible conflicts or relocating, he instead invited his friends on social networks to access a remote camera and watch him with his boyfriend.

The roommate said he didn’t want him dead, he just wanted his friends to know he was disgusted by his behavior.

Technology, while neither good nor bad, has definitely aided in the ability to further bullying behavior in college. Facebook originally started as a way to judge college students on how hot they are, and then turned into a way to keep track of campus activities. Soon it spread to other schools and then the public.

Another site with more of a critical focus is www.room110.com. Here, the goal is to be as catty as possible. Visitors have unchecked license to post personal comments about anyone they know in colleges, the snarkier the better. It’s also OK to post photos of the same people and let other online visitors add their comments. Some students may see it as something in the same spirit of fun as judging those awkward family photo web sites, but people who have found themselves featured on the site may not take it with the same sense of humor.

Preface also suggests that a victim of college-age bullying may respond in different ways. In primary or high school, bullying can lead to tears or anger. In college, people are less likely to ‘bounce back’ and may turn to depression or suicide instead.

So are there remedies for bullying in college ? Possibly.

Contacting someone can be a good start, whether it’s a counselor or student advisor. Though campus security may not respond to reports of hurt feelings, they may be interested if there are similar reports of rude, unwanted behavior or verbal threats from the same student.

Bullying experts say the same guidelines for bystanders can also apply when it comes to bullying in college  – bullies love audiences, and there’s often an instinct to either join in or not get involved if you see bullying occur.

But if people are educated as to what constitutes bullying and learn to reach out and treat everyone fairly, then some of it can be minimized. A larger campus, with thousands of people vs. a small high school class, also can be an easier way to not draw attention to bullies or for bullies to not need to strive to be Mr. or Ms. Popular.

College student leaders can also work to reduce the initial insecurities that can fuel behavior of bullying in college and cyber bullying in college. They can create programs to include more students, such as freshman orientation. Or make sure students know about the variety of clubs, sports and activities – the busier they become, the less time they’ll have to feel frustrated and angry, which can lead to bullying in college.

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1 Comment

  • Ann Dalla Gasperina
    Jan 12, 2015 at 04:45 am

    For those of you sending your kids off to college sometime soon, this is an interesting article that discusses bullying in college. There is so much focus on k-12. ” Bullies love an audience and there is an instinct for those around them to join in or not get involved.” A bad combination for the kid being bullied and far from home. There is strength in knowledge and being able to identify this. I know my kids would not sit and watch a friend or anybody be bullied. They would identify the behavior and call the person on it. Lets all teach our kids to do this!! There is no room for this.

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