Bullying is becoming an ever-present topic among elementary, middle school, and high school students and their concerned parents. Bullying not only has short-term emotional effects, but it also has many health problems associated with it as well, which is why it is a topic heavily discussed in the health field.
Also, as we enter into a new age of technology, cyber bullying is becoming a major problem. It is often difficult to monitor, and can sometimes be even more hurtful as youth often feel confident enough to say more hurtful things if it is behind a computer screen. There are many articles that discuss the facets of bullying, and in a good majority, prevention methods are discussed as well as the effectiveness of each. Since teachers are around the students most often when bullying occurs, methods for teachers and schools as a whole are visited as well.
Many students in America are involved in bullying one way or another. According to Cohn and Canter, 3.7 million youths engage in bullying, and more than 3.2 million are victims of “moderate” or “serious” bullying each year (Cohn & Canter, 2003). This is affecting a lot of our youth, whether they are the victim or the perpetrator, and the long-term effects may be the same for both. “Bullies and victims are more prone to violent behavior, especially as they get older, than are their peers who are not exposed to such behavior” (Argus, 1999, p. 38).
This is very dangerous, as it may present a never-ending cycle if not controlled. There are many different types of bullying, including physical, emotional, verbal, and cyber bullying. Some of these may be experienced in combination with others, but all should be taken equally as serious. Cyber bullying is an emerging problem, as it is very hard to control, and is becoming more popular as the newer generations experiment with social media sites. “Results showed that responses to cyber bullying were most similar to verbal traditional bullying, but distinct from physical and relational traditional bullying” (Boulton, 2013, p. 145).
There are varying methods of prevention, one of which involves the victim. Bullying can happen to any child, but the way that they handle it may differ as Sharp points out. “Both students with high and low self-esteem had experienced bullying behavior…however, those with low self-esteem and passive response styles had been bullied more extensively” (Sharp, 1996, p. 347).
When they were bullied more extensively, the students experienced greater levels of stress. This information shows that one method of prevention may be for students who are being bullied to be more assertive when responding to bullying. Not only can the victim themselves help to prevent bullying, but parents, teachers, and peers can as well. In one study, results indicated, “students and teachers did not actively accelerate violent episodes, but were reluctant to respond positively by intervening to stop violence” (Berkowitz, 2013, p. 485).
This is something that desperately needs to be focused on, as standing by and doing nothing is almost as detrimental as participating in the bullying. Teachers and peers need to be taught to intervene, and how to do it properly, for bullying to begin to decline in schools. Another article also suggests that “school-based programs that address the dangers and long-term effects of bullying episodes” be utilized (Berkowitz, 2013, p. 485).
Schools need to address the issue of bullying with helpful programs that acknowledge the problem at hand and give students positive ways to fix it. Teachers also need to be taught to be more aware, and to inquire about any suspicious situation, as sometimes youth are hesitant to report bullying for fear of retribution. “Almost half of bullied children did not tell their teacher that they were being bullied. When teachers knew about the bullying, they often tried to stop it, but in many cases the bullying stayed the same or even got worse” (Fekkes, 2004, p. 81).
Overall, the most effective way to begin to decrease bullying is a combination of prevention methods, awareness, willingness to intervene, and open communication. Results from one study “stress the importance of regular communication between children, parents, teachers and health care professionals with regard to bullying incidents” (Fekkes, 2004, p. 81).
This is extremely necessary, because if a problem needs to be fixed, everyone needs to be aware that there is a problem in the first place. Bullying is very detrimental to the development of youth, not only because of the immediate effects, but also because of the long-term health problems associated with it. Together as a community, we have the opportunity to end bullying, but it needs to be a group effort.
- Argus, T., Ballard, M., & Remley, T.P. (May 1999). Bullying and School Violence: A Proposed Prevention Program. National Association of Secondary School Principles: Sage Journals, Volume 83, Pp. 38-47. doi: 10.1177/019263659908360707
- Berkowitz, R. (November 18, 2013). Student and Teacher Responses to Violence in School: The Divergent Views of Bullies, Victims, and Bully-victims. School Psychology International: Sage Journals, Volume 35, Pp. 485-503. doi:10.1177/0143034313511012
- Boulton, M.J., Down, F., Fowles, J., Hardcastle, K., & Simmonds, J.A. (November 11, 2013). A Comparison of Preservice Teachers’ Responses to Cyber Versus Traditional Bullying Scenarios: Similarities and Differences and Implications for Practice. Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 65, Pp. 145-155. doi:10.1177/0022487113511496
- Cohn, A., & Canter, A. (2003). Bullying: Facts for schools and parents. National Association of School Psychologists. Retrieved September 8, 2014, from http://www.nasponline.org/resources/factsheets/bullying_fs.aspx.
- Fekkes, M., Pijpers, F.I.M., & Verloove-Vanhorick, S. P. (May 16, 2004). Bullying: Who Does What, When and Where? Involvement of children, teachers and parents in bullying behavior. Oxford University Press, Volume 20, Pp. 81-91. doi: 10.1093/her/cyg100
- Sharp, S. (November 1996). Self-Esteem, Response Style and Victimization. Possible Ways of Preventing Victimization through Parenting and School Based Training Programmes. School Psychology International: Sage Journals, Volume 17, Pp. 347-357. doi: 10.1177/0143034396174004