Bullying has taken the lives of many children and teenagers in the last decade. We currently are facing a challenging time where students prefer to stay home, skip or drop out of school to avoid confrontation with bullies. Bullying is considered to be any form of aggression towards another person. Loneliness, uncomfortably, and bothersome are only a few repeated behaviors experienced by a kid who is labeled as a victim. Different types of bullying will be discussed in this essay as well as causes, consequences, and intervention. Bullying often leads to physical and mental self-harm because bullying cases are not easily identifiable. Reviewing a sensitive topic as such will allow readers to have a better understanding of bullying to prevent suicide or any other type of harm. Though there aren’t specific solutions to stop bullying, there are different ways in which the situation can be addressed to minimize the effects it may have on people.
People often connect bullying to school and automatically blame kids attending the school, but bullying occurs at institutions, workplaces, and various other public sites. Dr.Namie, a social psychologist and anti-workplace bullying activist, explains how many people outside of an institution have been tormented. There are up to 60.3 million workers affected by workplace bullying in 2017 and about 56% of workers were bullied by a person of high rank. People are poorly using their privilege to become dominant in the workplace. This simply proves that people need to become educated in all aspects of bullying: who, what, where, why, and most importantly how to prevent it.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proclaims the sad reality of bullying, ‘Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance’, but also declares odd studies that do not agree with this statement. Dr.Namie who yearly does evaluations of workplaces and finds the percentage of bullying increasing matter. The majority of research articles state that bullying is commonly seen in school-aged children, student to student and so on, but not mentioned on adults who encounter the same problems. Some research shows that children with disabilities are prone to bullying. About 82% of children with learning incapacity are bullied at school (Gaille, 2017). Some characteristics of a disability, such as clumsiness or a stammer or poor hearing, may make someone an easy target for those who enjoy bullying others (Hugh-Jones & Smith, 1999).
Due to working with children on the spectrum children confide in one to speak about problems they may encounter. A personal example that was observed was a high functioning child with autism who was tormented by kids who the victim believed were his friends. Another child who suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is nonverbal was bullied due to the way he was dressed. The child demanded a new wardrobe to fit in and be included according to him. Working with children on the spectrum has shown different examples for a child to commit different alternatives to do self-harm.
As Margevičiūtė (2017) affirms bullying is a universally accepted term perceived as intentionally aggressive behavior with an outcome of causing pain or discomfort. Yet, bullying has a different meaning and no universal definition covering everything. Certain people view the word bullied as he or she is exposed, repeatedly over time with negative actions by one or more people. While other states have different meanings of bullying. For example, on the authority of Margevicule (2017) Massachusetts defines bullying as ‘repeated written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture by one or more students or school staff’. Where Vermont legislatures define bullying as ‘an act directed against a student by a student’. This can cause a problem due to not only students being bullied but as well as adults and some laws don’t cover that aspect. There is no national-level anti-bullying law in place. 49 states have local legislation in place, but the act of bullying is not illegal by itself anywhere on the state of national levels(CDC). Not only does the law not cover in general but also there is no coverage of the different types of bullying.
Bullying is broken down into three parts; verbal, physical, social and cyberbullying. Verbal bullying is a form of teasing, taunting, threatening to cause harm, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments as seen on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. Social bullying is seen quite often today in school children. An example is seen today by Mrs.Padilla a high school teacher who observed kids being excluded by other peers during lunch. Padilla often leaves her doors open during lunch for kiddos who do not have friends or need someone to talk too. Leaving someone out, telling others to not be friends with a certain person may be examples of social bullying. Comparatively, girls exhibit envious behavior towards other children who often use social bullying.
Social Bullying is heard constantly while growing up and the majority of social bullying is displayed by other girls. Social bullying comes in different shapes from spreading rumors, play a joke that is unkind to cause humiliation and embarrassment, mocking others to be mean, encouraging others to exclude someone, sabotage someone’s reputation or acceptance, and lastly negative looks and stares. Social bullying may refer to relational aggression – harming a person through manipulation of relationship, usually seen as backstabbing rumors ugly contemporary terms (Aronson et al. 9). Moreover, being exposed to different types of bullying can impact the way you function daily.
Mrs. Garcia who constantly is exposed to bullying working as a second and third-grade teacher has an opinion which most would not expect. Garcia has observed for several years working in a school environment that is more than often identified serious matter. She reports of seeing children embarrassing, excluding, name-calling others in classrooms and school playgrounds. Reportings of the observation correlates with the findings with Ostrov a Ph.D. psychologist who conducted a study with colleagues on bullying in early childhood.
As the research goes into depth social behavior plays a role in how people treat others. In a study where the children ranged from three to five years of age, were asked to sit at a table. The children were instructed to color on a blank piece of paper given to them. Three crayons were provided with two of them being white and the other orange. As you may assume everyone wanted the orange crayon. The groups were controlled meaning one group of children were all boys and the second group all girls. Ultimentally the boys resulted in physical aggression, whereas girls resorted to relational aggression such as spreading rumors ignoring the girl to make her cry (Ostrov, Woods, Cases, & Crick, 2004).
Physical bullying involves hitting spitting, in general, hurting a person’s possessions and body which is observed mostly in boys. As we grow there are certain social roles we go by. Parents buy toy guns for boys and dolls for girls. Parents are more willing to endorse and encourage the aggressive behavior of boys, and not of girls. Again and again, directly and indirectly, minors learn that men are aggressive, and women are not (Berkowitz, 1993, p. 395). If you observe history as it descends you see men are the ones involved in more menacing acts like war. However, although men resort to physical violence women turn to social bullying you would expect humans to feel remorse for what they have done, on the contrary, it rises due to cognitive dissonance.
According to professor Bloodhart who has a Ph.D. in psychology, bullies tend to develop some ways of justifying their actions to feel good about themselves. People want to believe they are a certain way when they sometimes feel uncomfortable with their actions they resort to adding a new cognitive attitude. For example, a child who was teased by an adult for wearing an action figure shirt is likely to bully others who are wearing an action figure shirt as well. The bully justifies his action by saying to himself if someone did it to me, it is okay to do it to others. This is seen often in elementary school children who often taunt each other.
Cyberbullying has been seen often these days. Professor Bloodhart stated, ‘people are likely to bully online due to not being able to confront the other person in real life’. Online is a shield that protects you from others and by doing so individuals speak their minds and not expect them to be held accountable. Another reason why online bullying is more likely to be used is due to the audience. Classmates, acquaintances, beauty gurus, influencers who people perceive as an audience are probably the reason people tend to put others down to feel cool and accepted in a group. In today’s society, social media has an impact on humanity’s perspective on the way we observe one another. In a meta-analysis, Barlett and Coyne (2014) found girls doing more cyberbullying perpetration up to early adolescence, but boys more in later adolescence. CDC reports cyberbullying among public school attending students are highest for middle school (33%), followed by high school (30%), combined schools (20%) and primary schools (5%).
Oppressors can affect everyone from the tormentor, victim to the bystander. Many bullying have different outcomes from suicide, self-harm, drug usage, lack of eating, etc. CDC statistics show that 14% of high school students have thought about committing suicide at least once and 50% of them have attempted to do it at least once. In today’s society, a lot of youth have committed suicide due to being tormented.
Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, and even death. It also increases the risk of depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and experiencing violence later in adolescence and adulthood. Youth who bully others and are bullied themselves suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for mental health and behavioral problems. (CDC 2019)
The effects of being tormented can cause unsafe negative mental health issues. It is foreseeable that victims are expected to experience mood swings, a feeling of emptiness as sad and lonely. Developing depression and anxiety may be predictable, sleep and eating patterns can occur, loss of enjoyment in activities and a shrink in academic performance. These feelings can be long term meaning can go into adulthood. Victims are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school. Sufferer of torment stay home to avoid bullying or a confrontation. CDC mentions 15% of students today have not shown up for school at least one day out of the year to avoid a bully. However, although students may avoid school there are some alternatives you can take to decrease bullying.
Preventing bullying has its ways, some line of action may backfire, the better form of approaching a situation is by separating and speaking one on one with the child(Garcia, 2019). Schools offer a form of counseling where kids go in and speak there issues seeking help. Communication is key as people may say, it certainly gives people a heads up on issues that may evolve into much bigger problems. Communicating with kids can decrease bullying, being a trustworthy person were children seek your help speaks volumes. Some teachers may be a child’s safe haven, confiding aspect of incidents involving bullying boost their self-esteem. As simple as having someone to talk to.
A good idea for parents would be when tucking their child in for bed, ask them if they have any questions, confused about something they heard and speak about bullying. Look for changes in a child’s behavior, such as unexplained bruising, torn cloth, changes in eating habits, declining grades, loss of friends, running away, etc. Kids feel the need to keep it to themselves for fear of backlash from parents, many dread speaking to adults to avoid judgment or punishment for being weak. Furthermore, communication may be a key to avoiding bullying but other outreaches have the same results.
Displaying positive behavior around children may influence children to do what they see. It is often heard ‘she learned it from home’ or ‘he does what he sees’ often parents blame others to avoid the fact that they may have caused their behavior. Showing a child how to act has to be the most difficult thing to do, it is important to behave how you would want your children to act around others. Although, when your not around the child may behave differently but the point is to ensure the child knows the correct way to interact around others.
Being involved with school staff may be one of the most beneficial ways to be aware of your child is being targeted by bullying. Schools have different events as in back to school night, assemblies, volunteer, talent shows anything that involves engagement with your child’s surrounding activities. A child who has no one to turn to may face low self-esteem and develop trust issues. Those who experience bullying can result in self-harm, suicide, drug usage, anxiety, depression and a decrease in school performance. However, although society blames the antagonizer for such behavior, humanity plays a major role in bullying.
Research shows society is to blame. Individuals unconsciously label others, you can say society tends to be the prejudice of those around them. Per say a homeless man will be perceived as dirty, no education, not worthy when in reality can be an unemployed veteran who fought for this country. Observational learning a form of observing and mimicking others’ actions can cause children to perceive such conduct as ok. Similarly, when children watch their parents or other adults they admire yelling, kicking, and acting in other aggressive ways, that is the behavior they will copy (Aronson et al. 2016).
As can be seen, bullying is a broad subject that has different aspects. Tormenting others is socially unacceptable and must come to a halt. Non-Identical characteristics of oppressors show behavior of taunting, inflicting pain, avoiding others on purpose. Even though there is no federal anti-bullying law, CDC declares 49 states have anti-bullying legislation, yet bullying is not illegal (2019). Consequently, bullying can not be stopped but can be minimized by prevention groups, counseling, stand up for yourself and mainly get involved. Many often hear ‘see something, say something’ do not be afraid to speak up, may end up saving someone’s life.