School Bullying is Nothing New
Bullying has probably been around since the 18th century. It is a negative human condition that has evolved along with the mind and psyche. Bullying started with kids picking on each others or parents believing that they are teaching their kids “discipline” by beating them. Adults used to believe that kids fought only to be “best friends in the end”. Bullying also resulted from conforming to prejudiced social norms like gender stereotyping of men and women. The idea of “boys will be boys” and “girls are catty” have given way to accepting unacceptable negative social behavior. However, with awareness and strategies, bullying in school can be controlled.
What distinguishes bullying from regular childhood teasing and taunting? The severity and duration of bullying can be used as its identifying markers. Kids are cruel by nature. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are mean but more in the sense of their brutal honesty. Young children don’t have the social and empathy skills that adults have. These are acquired traits. Children don’t inherit them but are influenced into becoming empathetic, kind individuals through positive role-modeling.
It is important that adults stop thinking of bullying as a normal part of childhood. They should not have believe that kids need to “toughen up”, especially when we are dealing with boys. Instead, adults should teach kids assertiveness, how to express their emotions in a healthy way and how to stand up for themselves. Bullies tend to target those with low self esteem. Fearfulness and helplessness greatly reinforce bullying.
What Causes School Bullying?
The personality of a bully develops in childhood and is caused by hereditary factors, peer relations and in response to social situations in school and community. Lack of warmth at home, too much or too little discipline and physical punishment may contribute to bullying. An imbalance of power can occur if children are raised in non-accepting homes. Their peers would appear either superior or inferior to them in terms of how they look, their customs or socioeconomic statuses.
The child who bullies does so to gain attention and secure friends. It gives him/her a false sense of power. Negative company sometimes compels strong kids to exert power over the weak. The victim’s fear and submission reinforce the bullies’ sense of domination.
Bullies believe that bullying behavior will grant them acceptance. When they grow up, bullies are at a greater risk for embarking on criminal activity. Because bullying can escalate into violence, more often than not there will be crimes committed. A 2013 research by a group of scientists in the department of criminal justice and criminology at the University of North Carolina found out that 14 percent of kids who suffered repeated bullying will have a criminal record by the age of 18.
Some kids may bully because of their poor social skills. This could be traced to emotional or personality disorders. They may have latent sociopathic tendencies which would make them a danger to their families and societies.
Bullying in school occurs when one student or a group of students intentionally hurt another student. This abuse may be physical, psychological, or emotional. The last type is one of the most common forms of bullying in schools, and one of the least recognized by parents. Reasons for bullying vary almost as much as its types.
- The bully (or bullies) may have self-esteem issues and would only feel better about themselves by picking on someone who is weaker and less powerful.
- Students may develop a herd mentality and pick on a child who does not conform to what they view as normal.
- Students bully other students so as to be seen as “cool” and avoid being bullied themselves.
- In some cases, bullies are being abused at home and they take out their anger on one or more students they deem most likely to “take it” and not stand up for themselves. They might also bully students with healthy homes out of their envy for their normal and happy lives.
Different Kinds Of School Bullying
- Verbal: excessive and malicious teasing, insulting remarks, name calling, embarrassing jokes and revealing intimate information, cursing, crude and inappropriate sexual comments, threats and taunting.
- Physical: hitting, tripping, kicking, pushing and shoving.
- Social: ignoring a certain person, casting them out of a group, making them feel left out, spreading rumors about them and telling other kids not to be friends with them.
- Cyber bullying: threats and inappropriate sexual comments via social media, texting, emailing and chat rooms.
- Bullying can occur between peers at school, in the community, or in social groups. There are even cases of teachers bullying students.
Researchers note that there are differences in school bullying patterns between boys and girls. Boys tend to be more physical while girls are verbal and use social bullying methods to hurt others. This passive-aggressive type of bullying may be harder for adults to detect.
Pack bullying is when a group of -usually- older children, target one or more victims. It is similar to a pack of wolves hunting a prey together. Pack bullying can be physical or emotional. It is often done through cyber bullying. It lasts longer than real life bullying and can be the more damaging because can lead to long-term depression (dysthymia) or suicide.
1) Physical Bullying
Physical school bullying occurs when a group of children ostracize another child, or a group of seemingly weaker children. It’s like pitting the “cool” kids against those kids they consider “un-cool” or “freaks”. The “cooler” bullies aim to make the victims feel unworthy because they are not part of their social gang. Physical bullying beats down the victim’s self-worth, and thus leads to depression. Sometimes, desperation drives the victim to make unnecessary, humiliating measures to impress the bullies.
If you are worried that your child is physically bullied, you can easily detect that from his/her behavioral changes. Any drastic change in your child’s behavior should be followed up with an investigation in conjunction with school officials to see if he/she might be a victim of physical bullying.
2) Name Calling
The old saying that “sticks and stones can’t break my stones” is not entirely true. Words DO hurt. Some kids make up the worst possible insults to call someone, such as “FATTY”, “PIG”, “SLUT”, “WHORE” or “F**”. Some kids use racial, sexist or homophobic name calling to hurt their victims the most. You should teach your kid to report any incident of name calling that he/she witnesses as it tends to get worse if no action is taken. Kids need to understand that homophobic, sexist and demeaning comments are not funny. This is what school is all about: creating a safe and accepting environment for everyone.
3) Spreading Rumors
While rumors and gossip are not against the law, they can carry legal consequences and are considered to be one of the worst types of bullying in schools. Girls resort to this type of behavior more than boys who tend to choose physical aggression as their preferred method of bullying. Gossip can result in loss of integrity and respect from others, loss of jobs, low community status, and humiliation. Gossip is considered “slander” or “libel” if it occurs in print or on the internet through cyber bullying.
What are Different School Bullying Prevention Measures?
- Launch an anti-bullying awareness campaign that involves the entire community.
- Implement firm school-wide rules with severe punishment for bullying.
- Spread acceptance and respect.
- Include anti-bullying messages and information in school-related publications like newsletters, websites and the school magazine.
- Use cameras to better supervise hallways, bathrooms, playgrounds or any area that lacks adult supervision.
- Integrate the campaign into the community.
- Implement the random acts of kindness culture with rewards to the kindest and most creative student.
How Can School Bullying be Prevented on School-to-School Level?
It is important for schools to address bullying because it both threatens students’ safety and impacts their learning. School bullying will be more prevalent if it is not addressed properly. States provide guidelines as to when bullying requires intervention by law enforcement officials. Schools have an obligation to define bullying and properly report it. It is a national safety issue.
A team can be formed to assess school bullying and to launch an awareness campaign. This should begin by assessing school bullying. Where does it occur, and how often? What are the kinds of bullying that is occurring? Establish a climate in which school bullying is not accepted.
What Can Parents Do if Their Kids are facing School Bullying?
Proactive involvement in your child’s life is the first step in preventing school bullying. Talk with them and listen to what they have to say. Ask open-ended questions about their relationships with their teachers and their peers. Ask how they spend time between classes and during recess. Most importantly, watch your child closely to determine if he/she is being bullied.
Signs That a Child May Be A Victim Of School Bullying
- Personal items often missing.
- Asking for extra money.
- Frequently “losing” lunch pocket money.
- Frequent headaches or stomachaches.
- Avoiding after-school activities.
- Consistently going to school early or late.
- Pretending to be sick or constantly missing school.
What to Consider in Preventing Your Child From Being Bullied or becoming a Bully at School
- Teach your children anti-bullying habits. Condemn physical and verbal bullying.
- Be a role model. Avoid inappropriate language and disrespectful attitude.
- Teach your children to be assertive.
- Build trust between you and your child.
- Teach your children to report bullying safely yet immediately.
- Find ways to report school bullying anonymously.
- Teach your children about cyber bullying.
- Supervise your children’s Internet activities.
- Advocate for your kids’ school to have anti-bullying programs and campaigns.
- Provide an accepting and nonjudgmental environment for your kids.
- Seek counseling for your child if he/she show signs of being a bully.
- Enroll your child in martial art classes as well as mindful yoga and meditation classes. This will help in building confidence as well as teaching him/her how to control feelings and emotions.
School Bullying Statistics 2014
In 2012 the Tennessee General Assembly, in the USA adopted legislation requiring the department of education to report the number of bullying cases reported during the year and publicly state how they are being dealt with. This open approach gives an insight into what is happening in schools around the world when it comes to bullying. The Tennessee district has over 950,000 students across its school districts. It is very interesting to see how many students actually reported being bullied and harassed within schools – but also those who felt they were being harassed, but after investigation – found it was not true bullying. This leads to many questions around how we actually define bullying and if we (parents, media and anti-bullying promoters) are blowing bullying way out of proportion?
Here are the actual reported bullying cases in the schools in Tennessee:
Tennessee School Bullying Statistics for the School Year 2012-2013
7,555 harassment and bullying cases are filed within the school year
5,478 of these cases were confirmed after a strict investigation
695 bullying cases were reported involving gender or sex discrimination
564 reports is related to “cyber-bullying”
321 cases involve race, skin-color and nation of origin
168 reports involve bullying due to a person’s disability
One of the most important statistics to know is how many children are impacted by bullying on a regular basis. While the various studies show different numbers of students who claim to have been the victim of bullying, the general consensus is that about one quarter of students are victimized by bullies at school. Of those children who are victimized, about 77 percent of them are bullied verbally and physically, while about 43 percent have been bullied online. The number of children who are cyberbullied has been on the rise with the increased use of social media, online role playing games and other websites.
The most serious potential outcome from continued bullying is the prospect of victim suicide. Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that suicide is the third leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is all the more striking since the prevalence of suicide among adolescents is the only demographic showing a substantial, continuing growth in the suicide rate.
Furthermore, 4,700 youths die by suicide annually, and one in six high school students actively consider taking their own lives. It cannot be overly stressed that the increasing prevalence of bullying correlates positively with the increasing suicide rate among our country’s youth.
What may be easily overlooked is the fact that the most physical or violent forms of bullying are not necessarily those most productive of student suicides. The least physical form, cyber bullying, is the fastest growing and perhaps the most seriously threatening form resulting in suicides. A personal, physical threat is decidedly ugly, but a threat to one’s social well-being in the context of a school-age peer group demographic may be even more threatening.
Suicide may be the most serious of the statistics on bullying in schools, but is certainly not the only concern. Bullying can take many forms, and the effects of bullying can be pervasive for years after the fact. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) reports that bullying victims can display a broad range of responses over an extended period of time. These responses may include low self-esteem, lack of assertiveness, isolation, and a difficulty trusting others. But they may also include difficulty controlling anger and expression of overt aggression.
According to a recent SAFE survey (2010) in regards to school bullying statistics , the most likely group to be affected is teens in grades 6-10. Around 30% of US students were either involved in bullying as a victim, or as the bully or both. Around 77% of all students reported being verbally abuse in some way. This kind of bullying is especially hurtful, as it involves gossip, ridicule, and ostracizing on the part of the bullies, spreading lies about the person, and verbal abuse tactics like yelling obscenities within ear shot of the person or others listening in. Some of these incidents involve targeting individuals because of their race, or other specific group they are associated with, such as students with special needs, gender, or other specific category.
When searching for school bullying statistics, it was found that out of the 77% who were bullied in these ways, 14% reported having a severe or traumatic reaction to the bullying, according to recent statistics. The damage done to a student’s reputation with peers, and the resulting inability to carry on their life as normal is staggering. School counselors and private therapists report often hearing about bullying situations from young people who come to them, or have their parents or others refer them for help due to behavior or emotional issues.
In a separate study related to school bullying statistics, 1 out of 5 kids admitted to being the bully in such instances, including gossiping, ridiculing, making fun of someone who is different, and other tactics. Some incidents of suicide have been attributed to bullying, such as the young man who jumped off a New York bridge after a college roommate posted videos on social media of the victim.
Primary School Bullying
Most schools have an anti-bullying strategy outlining what to do when bullying takes place on school property. Unfortunately, not all schools follow through with their campaign due to lack of time, interest or resources. As a parent, you can do your part to encourage school officials to uphold their anti-bullying standard by becoming involved in what’s happening in your kids’ lives. At the first sign of suspecting your child may be a victim of bullying, you can approach his teacher to talk about what’s going on. As more parents take interest in their children’s welfare and education, schools are more apt to respond by taking problems with bullying in primary schools more seriously.
Another way that primary schools can combat bullying is by making it difficult for these activities to happen. Adult supervision can be a great deterrent to bullying, especially in such areas as the school cafeteria and playground. By keeping a more diligent watch over their students in these key locations, teachers may be able to nip bullying incidents in the bud before they have a chance to flare up. Teachers also have a moral responsibility to their students to teach them right from wrong. Their moral input could be a tremendous help in curtailing abusive behaviour. Through encouragement and praise, teachers can help boost their student’s confidence and sense of worth so they don’t feel they have to resort to bullying to get the attention they need.
How Can Parents Combat Primary School Bullying?
As a parent, you can combat Primary School Bullying by spending time with your children and building a close relationship of trust and love. When troubles arise such as bullying, your kids will be more apt to confide in you to get the help they need. Children need caring adults in their lives who can help them resolve difficulties that may arise. Kids also crave personal affirmation from those they love to grow in confidence and self esteem. As your children grow older, you can teach them communication and problem solving skills that can help them deal with bullying and other situations they may face in their lives.
Statistics show that 30% of children ages 6 through 10 years, have been bullied, or have bullied someone. The definition of bullying is defined as exhibiting aggressive behavior, or inflicting intentional bodily harm to another individual or a group of individual over a repetitive time period. Bullying is an imbalance of power that is afflicted by any means necessary. Bullying takes on many different forms such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, and even emotional abuse.
Both boys and girls are bullied, and they are so bullies themselves. However, studies show that boys are 5 times more likely become severely depressed. Girls on the other hand are 3 times more likely to become severely depressed, after being bullied over a period of time. Studies also show that students in middle school are 8 times more likely to commit suicide than students in other higher and lower grades. Children who were bullies in school are also more likely to be convicted of bullying, or some other violent offense, by the time they reach 24 years of age.
Public School Bullying Statistics
Numbers do not lie, and statistics show that 160,000 students avoid attending school each day for fear of being bullied. Bullying is the cause of so many students not graduating from high school. The seriousness of bullying is reaching state legislature, and changes are being put into place to alleviate, eliminate, and greatly reduce the number of bullying incidents that take place in public schools. Cyber bullying in schools is another form of bullying that takes place in public school settings and other types of settings as well.