Bullying in the 21st Century. Examining the Causes, Effects and Solutions.

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BULLYING IN THE 21ST CENTURY

The Complex issue of Adolescent Bullying: Examining the Causes, Effects and Solutions

Abstract

Adolescent bullying has been increasingly hard to measure. It is clear, however, that bullying within Australian schools is seen as a problem and one that needs addressing. This essay begins by talking about the first hurdle of defining bullying and moves on to discuss how schools are currently dealing with bullies and students in their care. Adolescents can suffer extensively at the hands of the perpetrator, suffering a multitude of life long emotional problems, anxiety, depression and psyciatric issues. How these affect their adolsecent development is discussed further, along with possible strategies that could be implemented within the educational system in order to conbat this escalating victimisation in our schools.

The Complex issue of Adolescent Bullying: Examining the Causes, Effects and Solutions

Bullying in Australian schools and also throughout the world in a miriad of settings is no new phenomenon. It is considered a large scale problem with serious consequences for all those involved. Although bullying has historially been recognised as a common outcome when children are placed in social settings it has however been the focus of many education campaign strategies. However, due to inconsistency within its definition, the measures used to study it and policies to overcome it, actual statistics on the prevalence of bullying is exceedingly hard to generate. As bullying can have such a huge impact on an adolescents life and holds correlation with such serious outcomes as depression, future delinquency and even suicide it is therefore extremely important to learn more about the behaviour and how best to address it.

Most definitions of bullying include the idea that bullying includes physical and verbal and emotional aggression. It is a systematic and ongoing set of behaviours, instigated by an individual or a group of individuals who are attempting to gain power, control, prestige, or a greater status. Bullying can also be part of a larger problem within a social network or school, leading on to violent acts. Morrison (2008) states that bullying is “targeted at a person that is perceived to be weaker or more vulnerable, without apparent provocation”. These individual students may be perceived as isolated or outcasts from the normal social network, with a lack of friends or having no specific link to any particular peer group. Often these indivdiuals are afraid to apeak out having little faith in the teachers or their parents and believing the behaviour would only get worse.

The effects of bullying can be extensive and be carried through to adulthood by both the perpetrators and the victims. These adolescents are at risk of emotional problems, anxiety, depression, psyciatric issues and even suicide. Boys tend to be bullies more often than girls are and usually bully other boys. Regardless of the gender of the victim, boys tend to use physical force or threats. Likewise, girls typically bully other girls, but do so verbally and indirectly more often than by physical means. Teenage girls are often the targets of rumors and sexual comments and often have gossip spread about them or encourage others to exclude another girl. Bullying can also often be a warning sign that aolescents are heading for trouble in the future (Mishna, 2009).

A study was carried out on 1,284 students in South Australia with an average age of 15, with the aim in identifying bullying and victimisation experience and how it related to their emotional and psychological wellbeing. The survey established a clear connection between both. Those who suffered peer victimisation showed...
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