WHAT IS BULLYING?

 

HERE'S HOW WE DEFINE IT

Bullying is the use of power - either physical or mental - to harrass, hurt, coerce, intimidate, or ridicule others. This behavior is usually repeated over time, having an addictive effect on both the bully and the victim.

Because every adult, teen, and child is wired differently, you can never underestimate the negative effects of bullying. Not only is the act of bullying detrimental, but also the fear of it happening again is equally as horrifying. It can occupy every waking moment of a child’s life. It can thrust a teen into total isolation. It can depress the happiest of adults.

SYMPTOMS OF BULLYING

Bullying causes unhappiness, loneliness, anguish, intense or mild fear, anxiety, and in some cases, more violence. We should all take time to learn what to look for when bullying might be happening around us. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, tell someone you trust.

THE MANY FACES OF BULLYING

A bully can be one individual or group, where the bully may have one or more friends willing to back them up. Bullying in the workplace is more commonly referred to as peer abuse and involves rankism.

THE FOUR TYPES OF BULLYING + WAYS TO COPE

Bullying has many different forms. Recently, bullying has been divided into four basic types of abuse - emotional, verbal, physical, and cyber. All of these groups involve intimidation and fear.

Any form of bullying should not be tolerated and should be discussed with a parent, friend, or appropriate authority. Most bullying, however, goes unreported. Herein lies the problem. Discussion is the first and most important step. Most people want to push the memory deep down inside and never think about it again, but doing just the opposite is the best way to truly deal with the effects of bullying. Below are a series of steps that are useful in dealing with bullying.

TIPS + TRICKS FOR COPING WITH BULLYING

HAVE A DISCUSSION

This applies to all children, teens, and adults. Find someone whom you can trust and tell them exactly what has happened - and how it makes you feel. If you have anyone else that you want to tell your story to, write it down. The idea is to familiarize yourself and others with the situation so you can form a strategy to deal with it.

HAVE A STRATEGY

This doesn't have mean "plot to get even." Instead, have a plan of action ready if the bullying occurs again. Most bullies thrive on the reaction and confusion of their victim. Strategies can range from a catch phrase that is repeated, an exit plan, or an immediate phone call to a friend or parent. The point is, have a plan figured out ahead of time and practice it so you'll know what to do when faced with bullying again.

KEEP IN MIND

First and foremost, try to remember the nature of bullying. Wrong is such a vague term, so we are going to add some specificity to WHY it's wrong. Bullying is immoral, dishonest, deceitful, and hateful, and people who bully others tend to have a low self-image and self esteem. They try to make themselves feel better by cutting other people down.

THINGS WE SHOULD KEEP IN MIND

 

THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE

Knowing that bullying stems from weaker judgement and self-image can be a comforting and powerful realization for victims. This is not a mere suggestion, but a truth. In fact, bullying dissipates with maturity.

A large study of school-aged children in Norway in the 1980s found that bullying in general decreases with age. Findings indicated that there were fewer instances of physical bullying in later years as well.

Being bullied by an older student was particularly common for the youngest victims in the study - ages 8 and 9 years old - and more than half had been bullied by older children.

The graph below illustrates the findings of the study. Note that the percentage of students who reported being directly exposed to bullying decreases steadily from grades 2 through 9.

BULLYING TAKES A TOLL ON EVERYONE

Bullying affects families even when it’s not known. Parents may notice a shift in moods with their child but have no idea why. Kids not willing to talk about bullying may want to be left alone and become distant. He or she may drop out of sports they once enjoyed. That can become extremely frustrating for family members who want to help but have no idea what is wrong.

Once the problem is known, it will probably cause angst with family members. Nobody likes the idea that someone is tormenting one of their own. Be sure not to rush into something rash. Cool heads will prevail with a well-thought-out plan of how to address the problem. The hardest thing to remember is that the bully matters too.

Constant monitoring of the situation will be your best source to relieve the tension. Explain to your child that - you will not do anything to compromise his reputation at school or embarrass him. Explain to him that you only want to have open and honest communication. This will help you to better understand what he is going through.

A LOOK AT THE FACTS + STATS

 

THE NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.

American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims.

1 in 7 students in grades K-12 in either a bully or a victim of bullying.

15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.

71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

Revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.

87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to "get back at those who have hurt them."

86% of students said, "other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them" causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.

61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.

THE RESEARCH

 

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT BULLIES TODAY

Research on the self-esteem of bullies has produced equivocal results. [1] [2] While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, [3] they can also use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self-esteem; by demeaning others, the abuser feels empowered. [4] Bullies may bully out of jealousy or sometimes because they themselves are being bullied. [5]

A typical bully has trouble resolving problems with others and also has trouble academically. He or she usually has negative attitudes and beliefs about others, feels negatively toward himself/herself, comes from a family environment characterized by conflict and poor parenting, perceives school as negative and is negatively influenced by peers. [6]


1: Cardemil, Alisha R.; Cardemil, Esteban V.; O'Donnell, Ellen H. (August 2010). "Self-Esteem in Pure Bullies and Bully/Victims: A Longitudinal Analysis" Journal of Interpersonal Violence (Sage Publications) 25 (8): 1489-1502. doi:10.1177/0886260509354579. PMID 20040706. Retrieved 2013-10-29.

2: Batsche, George M.; Knoff, Howard M. (1994). "Bullies and their victims: Understanding a pervasive problem in the schools". School Psychology Review 23 (2): 165-175.

3: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, bully". Bully OnLine. Tim Field. Retrieved 2013-10-28.

4: Syiasha. Presentation Bullying. Scribd. Scribd Inc. Retrieved 2013-10-28.

5: Levinson, Edward M.; Levinson, Edward M. (2004). Assessment of Bullying: A Review of Methods and Instruments. Journal of Counselling & Development (American Counselling Association) 82 (4): 496-503. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2004.tb00338.x. Retrieved 2013-10-29.

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6: Cook, Clayton R.; Williams, Kirk R.; Guerra, Nancy G.; Kim, Tia E.; Sadek, Shelly (2010). Predictors of Bullying and Victimization in Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-analytic Investigation. School Psychology Quarterly (American Psychological Association) 25 (2): 65-83.