Bullying in Schools
Bullying occurrences have been a perpetual problem in schools and among teenagers. As Meyer-Adams & Conner (2008) assert, “Bullying is continued harassment though acts of domination towards another person, either through physical or emotional abuse.” With the recent technological developments, bullying can be done online and through social media platforms. As a result of its advance effects on the victims, bullying has attracted universal attraction from the media, school authorities, parents, and researchers. Many studies have been done in different schools situated in different locations all over the world examining the prevalence of harassment among the teenagers in schools and other places. In light of these studies, it has been established that bullying has some clear-cut causes and effects and some recommended effective precautions to curb its occurrence.
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Causes of Cyber Bullying
The first cause of bullying is revenge for being victims of bullying. Some people may feel that their parents or their older sibling are bullying them. As a result of this feeling, these victims bully others as a way of seeking to be equal. According to Mark & Ratliffe (2011) “getting bullied by any of these people may tempt some to claim a sort of authority for themselves through bullying, rather than reaching out for help in dealing with their own issues in a more productive way.” The same case happens with cyber bullying occasions. Often, cyber bullying happens as a result of offline bullying of the perpetrators in their lives by others. However, cyber bullies do not have the courage to bully their victims in person and thus use the tools at their disposal to perpetrate intimidation to others. Additionally, “cyber bullying can be an extension of real world bullying too, for example, hacking into a social media account in order to display negative rumors about another person” (Hoff & Mitchell, 2009).
The second cause of bullying is jealousy or frustration toward the victim by the perpetrator. When an individual becomes the smart one in class or other places such as getting good grades always or becoming the centre of attention, they may become the target of bullying. According to Meyer-Adams & Conner (2008) “some of the things that make people different are generally neutral characteristics, but some, like being smart, focused, or creative often representing attributes that the bully wishes they shared with their victim.” As bullies become jealous and thus target their victims with an aim of undermining these outstanding attributes. The third cause of bullying is inadequate understanding and lack empathy. The lack of empathy or understanding as a result of personality adequacy is a predicting factor for bullying. As a result, suck kind of people develop prejudice toward a given sexual orientation, race or religion. They thus use their prejudice as a justification for bullying those who possess such personalities that they do not agree with or that they hate.
The fourth cause of bullying is the urge for attention. Some perpetrators do not construe themselves as bullies. As Mishna (2004) asserts “they think that all they are doing is teasing a bit, and may even be trying to communicate or even befriend the person they are bullying.” They underlining intention is to get the attention of their victims. As such, they result to use of physical violence or insults to communicate since they are unable to communicate through decent ways of communication. When the instances of victimization increase, the bullied are forced to become friends with the perpetrators to continued bullying. This way, the perpetrators achieve the intended purpose by getting the attention of their victims. The fifth cause of bullying is dysfunctional families. The presence of a dysfunctional family does not guarantee that children from such families will be bullies. However, Peguero (2012) holds that “a large number of bullies come from homes where there is little affection and openness.” Such individuals observe their parents or significant ones being violent toward other family members, friends, or siblings and thus become violent too.
The sixth cause of bullying is the urge to be in control. When individuals bully others, they instill fear in them and thus achieve control over them. This gives them power and an urge for more power leads to increased instances of bullying. Such occasions become a routine in a way that the perpetrator assumes the role a serial bully and enjoys doing it for more power. The seventh cause of is the reward attached to bullying. In most cases, individuals bully others to gain acceptance from their peers or to belong into a group. As such, they perpetrate bullying, even though it might seem morally wrong to them, to maintain recognition or membership to the peer group.
Effects of Bullying
Bullying has effects for both the bully and the victim. The first effect of bullying is that the perpetrator has a high likelihood of becoming a delinquent and finally a serious criminal. This tendency emanates from the repeated pattern of bullying that graduates the perpetrator from a bully to a hardcore delinquency. The second effect is that bullying puts the bully at risk of abusing drugs and thus become a school dropout. The third effect is that bullying puts the victim and the perpetrator at the risk of experiencing depression. As Mishna (2004) asserts “bullies and victims tend to experience depression more than their peers who have not been involved in bullying, which can lead to academic problems, frequent absences from school, loneliness, and social isolation.”
The fourth effect of bullying is increased risk of self-destruction behaviors for both the perpetrators and their victims. Such self-destruction behaviors include suicidal thoughts and risky behaviors such as excessive engagement in harmful drugs. As Mark & Ratliffe (2011) state, “research indicates that the risk of both thoughts and attempts at suicide seem to be higher for girl victims and girl bullies no matter how infrequent the bullying occurs.” The fifth effect of bullying is development of nervous habits by the victims. Bullying is a bad experience on the victims. As such, they live in fear since they do not know when next they will encounter a bully. The result of this is that they develop nervous habit for the fear of repeated bullying experience. The sixth effect of bullying is poor appetite and sleeping disorders. People react differently when exposed to demeaning experiences such as bullying. As such, some develop poor appetite while others develop sleep disorders or both.
How to end Bullying
The first precaution for addressing bullying is setting clear rules and expected code of conduct that is enforceable. As such, the rules must be positively stated, minimum in number, easily enforceable, enforced consistently, and applied evenly among the subjects. As Peguero (2012) asserts “the rules and the consequences for breaking the rule should be clearly stated and students need to know what will happen if they engage in a certain behavior.” The second precaution against bullying is rewarding positive behavior. When an individual engages in bad behavior, it becomes easier to point it out than it is to point out good conduct. As such, it is vital to recognize individuals when they engage in good behavior so as to guarantee the willingness to uphold it.
The third precaution is putting in place a mechanism for open communication. Such communication mechanisms may include classroom meetings and the use of suggestion boxes to report such incidences. When the communication becomes open, the involved parties are able to understand each other and thus combat the problem when detected than when it is too late. The fourth precaution is frequent monitoring of suspicious tendencies that may point toward bullying incidences. Monitoring some places such as playgrounds, bathrooms, and hallways is vital for combating bullying occurrences. As Mishna (2004) asserts “Statistics show that 47.2 percent of bullying occurs in a hallway or stairwell, 33.6 percent of bullying happens in the classroom, and 20 percent of bullying situations occur on school grounds, on playgrounds and on school busses.” As such, monitoring these places frequently is very effective in curbing bullying.
In conclusion, there are several causes of bullying such as revenge against bullying, jealousy or frustration toward the victim, inadequate understanding and lack empathy, and the urge to be in control. On the other hand, bullying has several effects such as increased risk of self-destruction behaviors, development of nervous habits, and risk of depression. There are a number of precautions that might be implemented against bullying such as setting clear rules and expected code of conduct and putting in place a mechanism for open communication.
Hoff, D. & Mitchell, S. (2009). Cyber-bullying: causes, effects, and remedies. Journal Of Educational Administration, 47(5), 652-665. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09578230910981107
Mark, L. & Ratliffe, K. (2011). Cyber Worlds: New Playgrounds for Bullying. Computers In The Schools, 28(2), 92-116. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2011.575753
Meyer-Adams, N. & Conner, B. (2008). School Violence: Bullying Behaviors and the Psychosocial School Environment in Middle Schools. Children & Schools, 30(4), 211-221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cs/30.4.211
Mishna, F. (2004). A Qualitative Study of Bullying from Multiple Perspectives. Children & Schools, 26(4), 234-247. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cs/26.4.234
Peguero, A. (2012). Schools, Bullying, and Inequality: Intersecting Factors and Complexities with the Stratification of Youth Victimization at School. Sociology Compass, 6(5), 402-412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9020.2012.00459.x