To Bully Or Not To Bully
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Bullying is a life and sometimes death matter that gets ignored at our childrens peril. Bullying can no longer be trivialized by adults, taken lightly or denied. Bullying can be unlearned or even prevented; with todays research, there are ways to put a stop to bullying.
Bullies are everywhere – in small communities, big communities, parks, malls, streets, but most of all bullies are found in schools. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Boys can bully, girls bully, and even some adults bully. Bullies can be big or small, short or tall, smart or sometimes unintelligent; one can not always identify bullies by their looks. Bullying has very typical features, bullying is purposeful, rather than unintentional. Bullies gain control over other children by physical attacks such as hitting, punching, choking, pinching and kicking. Another form of control is emotional attacks like insults, name calling, spreading false rumors and threats. Social attacks are a form of bullying that single out children in front of groups of others such as ignoring, excluding and shunning. Websters dictionary defines bullies as: “A blustering, browbeating person; especially one who is habitually cruel to others.” There is one thing bullies have in common; they like to be in charge. Bullies build their confidence by lowering the self esteem of the bullied.
“Bullying is the most common violence in our society; between 15% and 30% of students are bullies or victims. Direct physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. 25% of teachers do not see any thing wrong with bullying or put downs, and get involved only four percent of the time” (Cohn, Canter, 2003) although teachers often fall short to stand against bullying they are not ambivalent about it; they hate the teasing and tormenting. The problem is that many feel incapable to do much about it.
“Bullying is an unacceptable anti-social behavior that is learned through many influences” (Cohn, Canter, 2003).
The factors in bullying behavior include:
“Family factors: Children who watch parents and siblings exhibiting bullying manners, or who are themselves victims, are prone to develop bullying behaviors” (Cohn, Canter 2003).
School factors: School employees often take no notice of bullying; children can be resistant if ignored for menacing others.
Peer group factors: Some children may bully peers in an effort to “fit in”, even though they may be uncomfortable with the behavior (Cohn, Canter, 2003).
Many parents believe young troublemakers are a part of growing up or normal, a passing stage of childhood that children should work out on their own, telling their own kids to fight back or ignore them. But its a bigger problem than many realize.
Many people grow up believing common myths about bullying, myths about bullying include
Bullies are social outcasts.
Bullying builds character.
Bullying is a problem limited to bullies and victims
Victims of bullying become violent.
The effects of bullying can be felt later in life, both for the bully and the victim. Bullies can have mental health, academic and social problems if they do not get help. The innocent victims have higher drop out rates and tend to have anxiety, low self esteem, depression and several other problems that have lasting effects.
Researchers who have studied bullying have reached common conclusions:
Bullies are frequent members of social groups or networks.
Research clearly shows that bullying experiences increase the vulnerabilities of children.
“Most victims of bullying suffer in silence rather than retaliate” (Knoll, 2001).
“A 1993 study by psychologist Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen, Norway, a leading expert in the field, for instance, found that 60 percent of children characterized as bullies in grades six to nine had at least one criminal conviction by age 24. A 1994 psychological survey of students in the Midwest also found that chronic bullies seem to maintain their behaviors into adulthood, diminishing their ability to develop and maintain positive relationships” (Donovan, 2007).
Bullycide is another factor that happens as a result of people dying from bullying, either from suicide or from homicide. How can bullying lead to violence? Some children, when pressed to their limits, have used violent and deadly ways to retaliate against their tormentors, there is no mistaking that there has been a rise in recent years in school shootings, including the attacks at Columbine High school and the shootings in Paducah, Ky., these attacks were the results of children who had been bullied for years, they not only took out their aggression and anger on their tormentors but on innocent children. Shootings and attacks like these are starting to become common occurrences in schools and communities.
According to recent bullying statistics, “Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers. More adolescence violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school. A poll of teenagers 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools” (Knoll, 2001).
School crime and safety statistics