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Introduction to Child Development: Bullying

By miliri Apr 27, 2015 1647 Words

“Written Campaign Proposal”
Mihail Liristis
ECE205: Introduction to Child Development
Instructor: Adebimpe Odunjo
February 15, 2015

Bullying has most likely existed ever since humans first walked on this earth. In a recent psychology study at UCLA, researchers concluded that bullies feel the need to boost their social status and popularity against their peers. Jaana Juvonen, the lead author of the study, found that subjects in the study that were bullies consider themselves to be “cool” and were seen as “cool” by their peers. is a website dedicated to bringing awareness about bullying of all types. 20% of students in grades 9 through 12 reportedly have experienced bullying, while 28% of students in grades 6 through 12 reported the same. Experts agree that most incidences of bullying occur in middle schools. Name calling was reported as the most prevalent type of bullying, followed by teasing, rumor-spreading, physical incidents, purposeful isolation, threats, belongings being stolen, and sexual harassment. Surprisingly, cyberbullying occurred with the least frequency. All of these types of bullying are more commonly known as “Middle School Mayhem” (Bullying Statistics, 2014). We as society must bring awareness and expose the real dangers of bullying to our youth. Bullying can have a significant impact to child’s development. Children who are bullied experience negative physical and mental health; these children can experience a number of symptoms: depression, anxiety, changes in sleep and eating patterns, loss of interest in activities and decreased academic achievement. The mission of this anti bullying campaign is to give students an outreach program for bullying; it will allow students to learn how to recognize bullying and how to handle themselves when confronted by a bully. The campaign will allow students an outlet for their problems, which hopefully will lead to a decrease in bullying that occurs in school systems every year. “Unfortunately, only 20-30 percent of students who are bullied tell adults or authorities about their situations. Without accurate reporting, it’s difficult to change the patterns of bullying and abuse that persist in the U.S.” (Bullying Statistics, 2014). There are plenty of good reasons to start a campaign against bullying, and the main reason is for the children. Bullies usually tend to prey on the weakest individuals, children are less likely to fight back and they offer the least resistance when are being bullied. I know this first hand since I was a victim of bullying in middle school. I was mostly picked on because of my accent and my lack of English. I was an easy target for the bullies because I was the new kid in school. I decided not to retaliate against my bullies and bring more trouble upon myself, but to let the bullies find out for themselves that just because I had an accent and my English was very limited I was a teen age boy just like them. The campaign will be based on similar situations, to boost the confidence of the children and to let them know that it’s okay to be “different”. Bullying occurs in every school around the world. Although children are being seen as harmless in elementary level, they very well have the capability to cause mental and physical harm to their peers by bullying them. “74% of eight- to eleven-year-old students said teasing and bullying occur at their schools” (Kaiser Family Foundation & Nickelodeon, 2001). Children in elementary school tend to be more vulnerable to bullying because they’re still developing their cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and self-help skills. During the elementary school age, “children are still learning the art of cooperation and sharing, which means that relationships are often more awkward and tumultuous. Skills develop in this domain through trial and error with peers, and most children feel the pull of peer pressure. This pull is especially strong because opinions of peers matter now more than ever before. This makes some children prime targets for bullying”.(Groark, McCarthy, & Kirk, 2014). It is important to start the anti-bullying campaign as early as possible, this way children can comprehend the devastating effects that bullying can have on an individual. To understand where bullying comes from, we have to look at the phenomenon on multiple levels. The first step is to define bullying. Bullying is a behavior that is often difficult to measure, but is something that we all think we know when we see it. Many of us have experienced bullying first-hand, and most of us have witnessed it at some point. However, to study any trait or characteristic, we must first define what it is, and bullying is no exception. According to psychological sources, bullying is a specific type of aggression in which (1) the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, (2) the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and (3) there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one. This asymmetry of power may be physical or psychological, and the aggressive behavior may be verbal (eg, name-calling, threats), physical (eg, hitting), or psychological (eg, rumors, shunning/exclusion). The key elements of this definition are that multiple means can be employed by the bully or bullies, intimidation is the goal, and bullying can happen on a one-on-one or group basis (Nansel et al, 2001). A 2005 multinational study that spanned 28 countries across North America and Europe revealed how commonplace bullying is and how consistent its effects are (Due et al, 2005). Due et al (2005) used 12 physical and psychological symptoms associated with being bullied to measure the effects of this behavior on the youth in the study. They found that the amount of bullying experienced by kids in those 28 countries varied greatly, with the least severe happening among girls in Sweden and the most severe among boys in Lithuania. However, despite the variation in the amount of bullying, there were no countries where bullying was completely absent. Further, Due et al reported that, “There was a consistent, strong and graded association between bullying and each of 12 physical and psychological symptoms among adolescents in all 28 countries.” (Due et al, 2005). It’s very important to express our opinions and speak our minds, therefore we should make a stand for ourselves and campaign for what we believe in. I believe that the anti-bullying campaign must go on until every child in every classroom across the globe has been reached. Children are ever developing and while their cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and self-help skills are still developing, it makes them very vulnerable to bullying. If we don’t put an end to bullying, it can harm any chances these children will have in developing their social-emotional skills. Mental and physical health problems are often related and although young children are generally healthy, research has started to show that bullied children tend to become adults with health problems. Awareness of bullying on school grounds is the responsibility of each and every school administrator, teacher, aid, parent/guardian, and the community itself. The school system must recognize the importance and take responsibility to create an environment in which bullying will not be tolerated. There are multiple avenues that can be taken to seize bullying. “The first step is to create a bullying prevention committee. The committee should contain teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, parents, administrators, and students. The committee should assess the prevalence of bullying in its schools by: having students complete surveys, conducting naturalistic observations, reviewing records, interviewing involved parties. After the committee has gathered information about the level and types of bullying in its school, it should search for an anti-bullying program that is suited to the needs and characteristics of this particular school setting “(McIntyre & Franks). Cultural background and the environment in which a child grows up into will have a significant impact on its development. This campaign must reach a worldwide audience in every household, parents need to know that their children are in a safe environment getting the best education possible. Anti-bullying campaign will go on until the milestone is reached. As stated above, there are multiple reasons why this campaign needs to be implemented and the main reason is the children. Children need a “safe zone” where they can learn and develop accordingly; they cannot do it if they’re being bullied. For this campaign to succeed we must set our sights on and target “Ground Zero”. “Ground Zero” has two fronts, number one at home and number two at school. At home, parents can nurture their children in self-help and social-emotional development, while at school children will learn to work on their confidence and self-esteem. Either way, both of these places need to provide a safe haven for the children and a bully free environment. Once this campaign is implemented in all schools all around the world, the long term goal is to eliminate bullying once and for all. To ensure the effectiveness of the anti-bullying campaign we must monitor the situation closely and continue to study the statistics along with talking to the students, faculty members and the parents to ensure the best possible feedback. Bullying is a plague upon mankind that needs to be eliminated, whether it is children or adults that are being bullied.

Groark, C., McCarthy, S. & Kirk, A. (2014). Early Child Development: From Theory to Practice. Bridgepoint Education: San Diego, CA. 104 Bullying Statistics 2014. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2015 from McIntyre, T., & Franks, A. (n.d.). Bullying: Characteristics and interventions. Retrieved February 15, 2015 from Facts about Bullying. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2015 from Nansel, T, Overpeck, M, Pilla, R, Ruan, WJ, Simons-Morton, B, Scheidt, P. 2001. Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment. JAMA. 2001;285(16):2094-2100.

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