Bullying and Education

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Bullying has become a significant problem among children in schools and even in the home environment due to the accessibility of the Internet. Bullying has been defined by Craig and Pepler as a “form of social interaction in which a more dominant individual (the bully) exhibits aggressive behaviour that is intended to cause distress or harm to a less dominant individual (the victim)” (Perry, Winne, Woolfolk, 2012). Bullying can take many forms varying from physical, verbal, social and cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is defined as a “form of international aggression where individuals, uses information technologies, such as email, websites, instant messaging, and text messages on cell phones to inflict harm on others by embarrassing them or gossiping about them” (Perry, Winne, Woolfolk, 2012). It has been estimated that 30% of students have been involved in bullying (Cooners-Burrow, Gargus, Johnson, McKelvey & Whiteside-Mansell, 2009) which has caused an “increased interest in the role parents can play in preventing or intervening in bullying situations”(Waasdorp & Bradshaw, 2009). Since most children do not have the skills necessary to advocate for themselves regarding bullying they rely on adults to do so or give guidance. Even though sometimes adult intervention can have positive effects on dealing with bullying, sometime they can also have negative effects. The pros and cons of adults intervening when children are being bullied can result in the bullying cessation or escalation. Pros of adults intervening when children are being bullied

Even though there is a general reluctance from children to tell adults about being bullied there are many positive effects that result from informing adults about being bullied. One of the positive effects that can occur from informing adults about bullied results in the bullying ceasing. Once the child has informed their parent(s) of being bullied then there are “seven possible responses to their child’s victimization: contact the teacher, contact the administrator, contact the school counselor, talk to my child, talk to the bully, talk to the bully’s parent, and ignore/do nothing” (Bradshaw, Duong & Waasdorp, 2011). “Although parents may not directly witness their children’s victimization, they are often sought for guidance or advice on how to handle difficult situations involving their children” (Bradshaw, Duong & Waasdorp, 2011). Smith and Shu (2000) “found that in more than half of the cases, telling teachers or a family member was perceived by bullied pupils as having a positive impact on their situation” (Candappa & Oliver, 2007). Even if there are no actual actions taken by the parent(s) to cease the bullying, Naylor and Cowie (1999) have “found that bullied pupils reported that having ‘someone to talk to who listens had been helpful, and that it had given them ‘the strength to overcome the problem’” (Candappa & Oliver, 2007). By the parent(s) allowing the child to discuss the emotional or physically pain that they had experienced due to bullying results in the child’s ability to cope with the abuse. Another way that parents can assist their child in prevention of bullying without directly getting involved is teaching their children pro-social behaviours or enrolling their children in “activities that promoted self defense such as karate or that expanded the child’s social network” (Minshna, Pepler, Sawyer, & Weiner, 2011). The parents could also give “assurances to their child as a way to improve their self-esteem” (Minshna, Pepler, Sawyer, & Weiner, 2011) or simply tell their child to ignore the bully. It is suggested by researchers that “victimized children who perceive high parental support are less likely to develop symptoms of depression” (Bradshaw, Duong & Waasdorp, 2011). When the parent(s) gives their child the skills to deal with the bullying it can result in a positive intervention. Parents are not the only adults that should be made aware when a...
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