BULLYING IN SCHOOLS

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Bullying is a form of violence common among children. Bullying can be found in schools, neighborhoods, and homes across the globe. Bullying is frequently misunderstood by adults as an unavoidable part of growing up and, as a result the behavior is excused and more often than not overlooked and termed to be a passing phase. Bullying is a specific type of aggression with the following three characters:

  1. The behavior is intended to harm or disturb,
  2. The behavior occurs repeatedly over time,
  1. There is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one. This asymmetry of power may be physical or psychological, and the aggressive behavior may be verbal (e.g. name-calling, threats), physical (e.g. hitting), or psychological (e.g. rumors, shunning/exclusion

The effects of bullying are very serious and both the child who bullies and is bullied have long-term risk factors for a series of negative consequences. This on-going issue is now treated with such seriousness by many; children who are bullied at school often suffer long-term effects, from poor self esteem, emotional injury to physical disabilities. Why does this occur?”Children that experience hostility, abuse, physical discipline and other forms of disciplinary factor tend to pour their frustrations on other children as a means of venting out their own frustrations.

It is not unusual to hear stories about students with and without hidden disabilities of being bullied. Stories about bullying have captured media attention as children attempt to cope with being bullied and as families attempt to adjust to losing a loved one to suicide motivated acts of bullying. Bullies do not fit into a neat little box. They come from all walks of lives, all ages, all genders, all races, and all cultures.

Bullying is infrequently addressed and no national data on the prevalence of bullying are available. Actually, the prevalence of bullying among youth is substantial. Given the concurrent behavioral and emotional difficulties associated with bullying, as well as the potential long-term negative outcomes for these youth, the issue of bullying merits serious attention, both for future research and preventive intervention.

Bullying among school-aged youth is increasingly being recognized as an important problem affecting well-being and social functioning. While a certain amount of conflict and harassment is typical of youth peer relations, bullying presents a potentially more serious threat to healthy youth development. Bullying takes many forms, and findings about the types of bullying that occur are fairly similar across countries. A British study involving 23 schools found that direct verbal aggression was the most common form of bullying, occurring with similar frequency in both sexes. Direct physical aggression was more common among boys, while indirect forms were more common among girls. Similarly, in a study of several middle schools in Rome, the most common types of bullying reported by boys were threats, physical harm, rejection, and name-calling. The most common forms for girls were name-calling, teasing, rumors, rejection, and taking of personal belongings.

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Research examining characteristics of youth involved in bullying has consistently found that both bullies and those bullied demonstrate poorer psychosocial functioning than their non-involved peers. Youth who bully others tend to demonstrate higher levels of conduct problems and dislike of school, whereas youth who are bullied generally show higher levels of insecurity, anxiety, depression, loneliness, unhappiness, physical and mental symptoms, and low self-esteem. Males who are bullied also tend to be physically weaker than males in general. The few studies that have examined the characteristics of youth who both bully and are bullied found that these individuals exhibit the poorest psychosocial functioning overall.

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