Bullying is an aggressive and rampant behavior in the contemporary society. It entails the acts of coercion, intimidation, threat and abuse that are aimed at dominating the others. The practice of this behavior more so among teenagers is repeated and habitual (Kuykendall, 2012). A major prerequisite of this behavior is a perception of an imbalance of social or physical power by the bully.
Common behaviors that are used in asserting the bullying behavior include verbal harassment, physical assault and threats. These are meted on the target individuals. Bullying behaviors’ justification and rationalization includes normal differences in behavior that include class, race, gender, sexuality, appearance, size, ability and behavior. Individuals targeted by bullies are commonly called bullying victims (Kuykendall, 2012). Most victims experience non-fatal and fatal injuries after being bullied.
There are different ways that are used to define bullying. In the US, laws have been enacted to fight bullying. Bullying does not have a legal definition in the United Kingdom. There are four major abuse elements in the bullying context. They include emotional or relational, physical, cyber and verbal elements. Bullying can happen during a simple one-on-one encounter or take a complex form (Kuykendall, 2012).
A bully can also have several people assisting him/her in the execution of the bullying acts. In schools and workplaces, bullying is also called peer abuse. The bullying culture can develop in any place where there is mankind’s interaction. Major contexts where bullying occurs include learning institutions, workplaces, neighborhoods, family and home (Kuykendall, 2012).
Bullying in Schools
Most youths engage in bullying acts that hurt the victim emotionally more than physically. However, there are times when the opposite occurs (Rigby & Australian Council for Educational Research, 2007). There are times when bullying occurs in school in scenarios that involve membership to a student gang and this can cause serious injuries and in some cases death. A death caused by school bullying is a partial portion of a problem. Reports of bullying gangs in the US schools especially public institutions show that the victims suffer head trauma and gunshot wounds. This causes permanent disability in some victims (Rigby & Australia Council for Educational Research, 2007).
Social aggression is the basis of school bullying. The risk of becoming a bullying victim shows the environment where a person lives, poor academic and social skills as well as the kind of people he/she relates with. Indirect bullying entails the attempt to isolate the target person socially. This isolation can be achieved through varying techniques such as gossip, discouraging issues in the society, criticizing target persons on the basis of their dress code and other significant indicators (Rigby & Australian Council for Education Research, 2007). Among the important social markers of bullying include sex, disability, religion, sexual or race preference.
Different bullying behaviors that are nonviolent are considered as indirect bullying and they include name calling, silent treatment, arguing individuals into submission, manipulation, false gossip and staring. Saying some provocative words in order to trigger nonviolent or violent reactions in some events is also bullying (Rigby & Australian Council for Education Research, 2007). The manifestation of bullying between sexes differs. Most males are physically aggressive while females favor exclusion and mockery. Exclusion and mockery can be favored by both sexes instead of physical aggression especially when bullying a strong target (Rivers et al, 2009).
The bully can face problems such as facing criminal liability for using violence. Another factor that causes bullying is easy access to drugs more so in schools. Drug abuse is the root of the bullying that is currently being witnessed in most public schools where deadly repercussions are caused by conflicts between minor students (Rivers et al, 2009).
Control loss, angry outbursts and violent acts are caused by alcohol and drug use more so for the youth bullies. The environment of the school is another contributing factor because it nurturers students’ bullying activities in most public schools. This entails disciplinary problems in public schools at a higher level, larger population of males, peer influence, higher ratio of students to teachers and urban location aspects (Rivers et al, 2009).
There is an inverse relation between academic performance and anti-social conducts in most public schools where there is an exposure to factors that are related to bullying (Rivers et al, 2009). The schools’ neighborhood environment also creates a relative context where bullying behaviors can prosper. Youths in majority of the communities with higher drug abuse rates and crime are exposed to bullying behaviors. They take these behaviors to learning and social institutions.
Exposing school students to the deviant peers act as a risk factor that causes aggressiveness among students at a higher level (Rivers et al, 2009). Higher poverty rates and population are also associated with increased rates of bullying in public schools. Gangs that bully individuals within the society benefit from the location of the public schools because they interact with the students while recruiting members to join them. The recruits bully people in the schools and their neighborhoods (Rivers et al, 2009).
Effects of Bullying
Exposure to persistent bullying issues increases the risk of developing stress-related illnesses and these cause death in most cases. The persons targeted by bullying experience behavioral and emotional problems (Sanders & Phye, 2004). Adults and children bullying can cause loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. It can also increase susceptibility to illnesses and even cause teenagers’ maladjustment. Bullies show serious social difficulties and they eventually suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. This can make them unable to establish social relationships.
Bullying is also a factor that may increase the risk of committing suicide. There are reports that show that approximately 20 children in the United Kingdom commit suicide because of bullying activities (Sanders & Phye, 2004). Violence in high school such as the massacre in the Columbine High School in 1999 has also been associated with bullying. The massacre was caused by the students who were victims of bullying. Serial killers may have also undergone bullying either indirectly or directly at their young age (Sanders & Phye, 2004).
School and Society’s Responsibility
While fighting bullying, schools ought to create environments where the educators try to salvage the persons who have been lost to bullying acts. Schools ought to establish a room where abilities are enhanced for the properly-behaved students with a potential for desiring education (Sanders & Phye, 2004). Schools ought to involve themselves actively in the process of restructuring agendas and enhancing the provision of curricula that have special programs for educating teachers and students on how to handle bullying cases.
Using the global school-based programs in preventing bullying in public schools is significant because it reduces aggressiveness rates and spreading of bullying acts among students. While delivering the program, schools should make them accessible to all students in public schools. These programs should entail topics that create skills like self-awareness, problem-solving, control, acceptable social skills, conflict resolution and teamwork (Rivers et al, 2009).
Parent and family based programs may also enhance the improvement of family relations which lower bullying risk among the children living in crime environments more so those initiated early. These programs educate parents on child development issues while enabling them to teach their children proper problem-solving and communication skills.
There are mentoring programs initiated by the society that are also important and they can significantly enhance the reduction of bullying activities among students in public learning institutions. These programs pair adults with corresponding students. The adults serve as the role models of the students and they help in guiding their behavior (Rivers et al, 2009).
Provision of an orderly place to the student enhances safety and learning. This is important in the public schools’ framework because it reduces and eradicates bullying. Situations that involve conflicts that are related to bullying are increasing among students in the public schools as well as between faculties. This makes adopting different programs that prevent bullying while resolving conflict important (Rivers et al, 2009).
There is an interrelation between prevention and resolution of bullying cases in schools. Public schools’ students ought to know how to manage and avoid bullying acts constructively. Students in public schools should also be taught different measures of eradicating bullying because this helps in reducing bullying cases. It also helps public schools in enhancing peace and order which facilitates education progress (Rivers et al, 2009).
Kuykendall, S. (2012). Bullying. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.
Pepler, D. J., Rigby, K., & Smith, P. K. (2004). Bullying in schools: How successful can interventions be?. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Rigby, K., & Australian Council for Educational Research. (2007). Bullying in schools and what to do about it. Melbourne, Vic: ACER.
Rivers, I., Duncan, N., & Besag, V. E. (2009). Bullying: A handbook for educators and parents. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Sanders, C. E., & Phye, G. D. (2004). Bullying: Implications for the classroom. San Diego, Calif: Elsevier/Academic Press.