Table of Contents
Bullying in schools has become very rampant as the year’s progress. In the current era, it is a common practice in most schools across the world. Bullying is the repeated aggressive behavior that is intentional and in which differences of power exist between the bullies and their victims. According to research in North America and Europe, bullying is most prevalent in institutions where there are vast economic gaps (Due et al. 2009). It was realized that students from low social backgrounds were at a greater chance of being bullied as compared to those from high social classes. Moreover, according to the American Justice Department bullying statistics, one out of every 4 kids are bullied sometime throughout their adolescence and school life. Notably, cyberbullying is one of the alarming reasons as to why bullying has seen a significant rise in the last few years. Further, in accordance with the American Justice Department, bullying is one of the leading safety challenges that go unreported in most American schools. It is argued that this has been caused by fear that develops in victims who are afraid of reporting bullying cases. This paper will, therefore, discuss in detail the issue of bullying, factors that have led to its tremendous growth and its effects on learning institutions and the society as a whole. It will also seek to find answers to the following question. Is bullying a reflection of social content or natural adolescent behavior. Kids and teens from low socioeconomic status are more likely to be bullied than others. In planning strategies for prevention and intervention correctly should we take into account these social, economic issues?
The effects of bullying have a huge impact on most of us later in life. Bullying organizations across the United States and Europe have all documented staggering statistics of children being bullied. While this evolution of social media and mobile communication has proven to have positive benefits, they may have made it easier for the youth to make bullying “inescapable and even more threatening than ever before” (CHI). Hundreds of workshops, training, and seminars have been conducted throughout the country, and yet over 55,000 children have taken their lives in the last 7 years due to being bullied according to Stand for the Silent a non-profit organization founded by a group of students from Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City. If there are so many adequate resources, training, and organizations that bring awareness to this dreadful issue for kids, why have we yet to see a decline in bullying? Probably, blackmailing of victims by bullies is one of the primary reasons as to why efforts to end bullying are fruitless. The American Journal of Public Health surveyed 160,000 students from nearly 6,000 schools in Europe and North America concluding that schools with the largest economic inequality had the highest rates of bullying.
Effects of Bullying
Bullying in learning institutions results in various negative impacts that greatly affect the life of the bullied. Committing suicide is one of them (Hinduja and Patchin, 2010). It has been proved that there is a high possibility of those affected to take their lives rather than speak up about their experiences with bullies. The reason being, they develop the fear that speaking about it will make them be bullied more. To avoid this, they see death as the best solution (Hinduja and Patchin, 2010). Moreover, culprits are using the internet to achieve their intentions. Cyber bullying is a crime so predominant in the 21st century (Kowalski et al. 2012). Students are harassed on social media platforms in which they are forced by bullies to send to them explicit pictures and videos (Hinduja and Patchin, 2010). The offenders also send the same to their victims who in most cases have not reached the age of viewing such content (Kowalski et al. 2012). Further, bullies send disturbing messages to their victims and embarrass them on social media platforms.
Over the years, children have been made to believe that bullying is a norm. That is, they have the perception that there is no problem in taking part in bullying since it is accepted in the society. Specifically, the statement “Kids will be kids” has played a role in aggravating bullying. Failure to make children understand that bullying is an unacceptable behavior highly contributes to the spread of the crime. Consecutively, according to research by Douglas Vanderbilt and Marilyn Augustyn, victims tend to become violent and adopt the use of drugs (Vanderbilt and Augustyn 2010).
Binge use of alcohol and cigarettes amongst the bullied is extremely high in various parts of N. America and Europe. The American Journal of Public Health survey shows that Austria, Estonia, Russia, Belgium, Portugal, and Canada are leading with bullying cases (Due et al. 2009). This has been as a result of huge economic differences in schools found in these countries that heighten the rate of bullying.
Social Economic Issues
Access to social activities can help in fighting the spread of bullying and also contribute to its growth. Its contribution is determined by people’s experience, the society they live in and the people they interact with in their daily life (Due et al. 2009). The above factors act as the determinants that dictate a person’s behavior in most instances. Therefore, if someone lives in a community whereby deviant behaviors are rare, the likelihood of them becoming bullies. The vice versa is also applicable.
Subsequently, single parent and poor supervision promote bullying. This results from the fact that parent is rarely present to monitor the progress of their children. Hence, it becomes hard for them to tell when they develop and show signs of immoral characters such as bullying. The programs being aired on our televisions today also lead to bullying. For example, there are many movies, songs, and plays that are based on violence (Kowalski et al. 2012). Additionally, some of them have bullying as the major theme. Since students are young and lack effective critical thinking, they tend to copy what they see in televisions without the realization that it is harming them (Kowalski et al. 2012).
They also practice what they see in these programs which in turn makes them become bullies. Further, sometimes it becomes hard to report bullying cases especially if the offender is a confidant. Some victims fear to break the bond between confidants who turn out to be bullies. In a bid to protect friendship, efforts to have bullying curbed are limited making it continue spreading (Kowalski et al. 2012). Moreover, poverty amongst the bullied makes it hard for them to talk about it. The reason being, they think no one will believe them and that the rich are more superior. This trend has increased cases of bullying in schools.
Shame-Prone Issues a Key Contributor
One would wonder if bullies have fears. The certainty is they do, and they are always afraid of being exposed. To ensure that their victims do not expose them, they blackmail them by threatening them that if they tell anybody, they will do worse deeds (Due et al. 2009). On the other hand, bullies deal with the failures of being exposed by resulting to drug use or choosing new victims (Vanderbilt and Augustyn 2010). They are faced with the challenge of coming to terms of their exposure. The reason being, most bullies term their selves as heroes and heroes. They, therefore, do not expect they can be defeated which makes them sought for measures by which to deal with failure after they are exposed. Consecutively, adults should strive to raise awareness amongst the young that “we are all equal” regardless our economic differences (Due et al. 2009). This will help reduce cases of discriminating against the poor and bullying them.
Overly concentration on academics in most learning institutions to a greater extent is to blame for the increase in bullying (Vanderbilt and Augustyn 2010). The reason being, such academic systems neglect the need to broaden their student’s communication, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Essentially, having a curriculum that teaches on the mentioned skills so as to advance them would be significant in fighting bullying and eventually bringing it to an end (National Research Council, 2011). With poor communication, those bullied are faced with the difficulties to address bullying.
Moreover, as explained in the article by National Research Council (2011), the inability to solve problems and make valid decisions also aggravates bullying. To expound on this, bullies find bullying as the most suitable way by which to solve problems while victims believe keeping quiet is better. As a result, the activity keeps on being practiced since no one is ready to address the situation amicably. Further, lack of effective support systems both at school and at home explains why strategies put in place to fight bullying are not working (Due et al. 2009).
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Besides, since children from low socioeconomic status are more likely to be bullied as compared to others, it is paramount to put this to consideration when implementing preventive and intercession strategies (Due et al. 2009). Doing so will enable those involved to know how to address the issue and the approaches to utilize. Moreover, students that are more popular and talented are at higher chance of bullying those that are less popular. In most occasions, popular students are from rich family setups. They practice bullying more and mostly bully the poor students (Due et al. 2009). This shows that bullying is more of social content rather than natural adolescent behavior. That is; a person’s behavior is determined by their social background.
Too many young students have lost their lives to bullying. Bullying is no longer an individual problem; it is a societal one. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility in the society to ensure the behavior is mitigated. Learning institutions too have the duty of developing supportive and friendly systems that will enable those bullied to speak out instead of holding it to their selves.
- Due, P., Merlo, J., Harel-Fisch, Y., Damsgaard, M. T., soc, M. S., Holstein, B. E., … & de Matos, M. G. (2009). Socioeconomic inequality in exposure to bullying during adolescence: a comparative, cross-sectional, multilevel study in 35 countries. American journal of public health, 99(5), 907-914.
- Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of suicide research, 14(3), 206-221.
- Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P., Limber, S., & Agatston, P. W. (2012). Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age. John Wiley & Sons.
- National Research Council. (2011). The science of adolescent risk-taking: Workshop report. National Academies Press.
- Vanderbilt, D., & Augustyn, M. (2010). The effects of bullying. Pediatrics and child health, 20(7), 315-320.