Bullying is a social and psychological issue among animals and humans that emerges in an emotional, verbal, or physical form. Although the issue of bullying among humans has existed for quite some time, recent research of the issue has grown significantly and indicates that bullying takes many forms and effects individuals or groups of different ages, genders, races, geographic locations, and socio-economic status. There are many causes of bullying and the goal of the analysis is to identify some of the causes, analyze recent measures of prevention, review interventions in place to assist in increased understanding of the issue, and examine how bullying has the potential to effect lifespan development at various stages.
Causes of Bullying
Prevalence of Bullying
Bullying exists among children, adults, and the elderly and is directed toward groups or individuals regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and socio-economic status in every culture and different countries around the world. Bullying takes place at the workplace, school, home, community, and has recently become even more prevalent online. Bullying can take place individually (one on one) or in a group dynamic and it traditionally manifests itself through emotional, verbal, or physical abuse toward its victims. Researchers have described associations between bullying by peers and a number of different dimensions of internal distress and social problems (Thornberg, 2010). Most Common Causes of Bullying
Although there are many causes and circumstances in which bullying takes place, one of the most prevalent social representation on bullying causes is to view bullying as a reaction to deviance (Thornberg, 2010). Consequently, bullying others simply because they appear different in some way is most common. Typically among young adults, physically smaller peers, those with physical disabilities or are socially passive are commonly targets of bullying. Among young adults (especially at school), students that are overweight, intelligent, dress or speak differently, and have different physical features are more often the targets of bullying. Among adults, those who have different socio-economic status, different cultural values, lower professional status in the workplace, and different views on gender roles or sexuality are frequently targets of bullying. Another most frequently used social representation on bullying causes refers to the explanation of bullying as social positioning; in other words, bullying takes place because it is an expression of a struggle for status, popularity, power, or friends (Thornberg, 2010). Quite often the need to appear popular among peers or influential among friends motivates bullies to target victims; particularly in social situations.
Anti-Bullying Movements and Legislation
Within the last decade, as research has expanded and individual awareness of bullying has increased, several cultural movements against bullying have gained popularity; especially among youth, youth organizations, and in the marketing and advertising world. Violent acts (such as suicide) that appeared to be a direct result of bullying has garnered much media attention and consequently, has influenced celebrities and influential people to develop campaigns against bullying designed to increase awareness. In 2000, Canada established the first National Bullying Prevention Week, in 2002, the UK passed the Charity Act Against Bullying, and in 2006, the U.S. created the National Bullying Prevention Month. Television and social media has been instrumental in the expansion of these anti-bullying movements.
Anti-Bullying Legislation in U.S. States
Along with these anti-bullying campaigns, recent history has also seen an increased demand (especially in the U.S.) for national and state legislation clearly to define and combat...