Bullying in Today’s World
Bullying in Today’s World
A topic of great concern among American society, and parents in particular, is that of youth violence. The media often makes the situation appear as though youth violence is on the increase in the United States. However, scientific research shows that youth violence is not truly increasing, but that certain environmental factors make the statistics read as though the violence is increasing. Statistics can be influenced by a number of factors besides actual increases in violence, such as the introduction of ‘zero tolerance’ policies in schools or the reduction of police discretion on police forces. These environmental factors lead to more incidents of youth violence being detected by those who measure youth violence, but does not actually represent an actual concrete increase in the violence. One area of youth violence that has increased over the past three decades is bullying. Although the increase is not drastic, bullying is a form of youth violence that is highly prevalent in all schools in North America, and abroad. Bullying is a lesser form of violence in which one or more students pick on, verbally or physically abuse another student who is viewed as a weaker child. This often takes the form of physical and/or psychological harm (Bastche & Knoff et al., 1994). Although bullying is a major problem within the school system, the topic is not fully understood and there are many circulated myths related to the subject. This paper attempts to highlight some of these myths and clarify the actual facts that do exist.
One of the most common myths can even be seen in the above definition of bullying, in that the victims of bullying are not always weaker children than are the bullies. One of the myths about bullying relates to the fact that some schools say they do not have bullying. Sometimes schools with ‘zero tolerance’ policies in place believe that they have successfully managed to end bullying as a problem for their students, but it is highly unlikely that this is true (Byrne, 1994). There are many different ways bullying can occur beyond the sight of teachers and authority figures, as bullying is often a very subtle form of violence or harassment, and can be as simple as a glance from one student to another. Some examples of physical bullying are hitting, pushing, kicking or the taking of personal items. Some examples of verbal bullying include verbal threats and name calling and psychological bullying may include spreading rumors, intimidation or even extortion. Physical and verbal bullying is the most common among boys and verbal bullying is more common with girls. Some believe that it is just a part of growing up and that it builds character and that most of us will experience bullying at sometime in our lives. However, research show that victims that experience long term bullying are more at risk for depression, to struggle in school, loss of self esteem and in some cases the bullying can lead victims to see no way out and commit suicide or murder like what happened at Columbine High School in 1999. (Bartol & Bartol, 2009). The only difference between schools with the subject of bullying is whether or not they choose to deal with it in an effective manner. Schools that take a proactive approach to the problem of bullying, by educating their students and dealing with it promptly and firmly, are the most likely to have success in combating the issue, but no school will ever fully remove the problem of bullying (Byrne, 1994).
Another common myth about bullying relates to how children are encouraged to deal with the issue. Nearly everyone can relate to a parent or teacher telling the victim of bullying to simply ‘ignore it.’ Nearly all victims of bullying are told that they should ignore their bully, not give in to them or respond, as all the bully wants is to get a reaction. But bullying should not be ignored. Every student and child has the right...
References: Bartol, C.R. & Bartol, A.N. (2009). Juvenile Bullying. Juvenile delinquency and antisocial behaviors 3rd edition, 238-239.
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Bullying by Mobile Phone and Abusive Text Messaging – Child Bullying, http://bullyonline.org/schoolbully/mobile.htm
Terrorism Starts in the Playground – http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/terror.htm
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