In today’s world we can hardly avoid being involved in bullying. We are often the witness of bullying, perpetrator of bullying or the victim of bullying. Parents bully children, children bully parents, siblings bully siblings, teachers bully students, students bully teachers, students bully each other, bosses bully workers, workers bully bosses, husbands bully wives, wives bully husbands, women bully women, the elderly bully each other and the list goes on. What we do know is that bullying is a world-wide epidemic and bullying can cause serious harm. How do we know what works and what doesn’t work in bullying prevention?
Bullying is any repeated, aggressive, unwanted behavior against an individual that is perceived as harmful. The aggressive behavior is associated by the victim with a perceived or real power imbalance. Bullying can be in the form of physical abuse such as pushing, shoving, hitting, punching, kicking, pulling hair, tearing clothes or taking belongings. It can be in the form of intimidation and extortion, threats and fear. Bullying through the internet can be particularly harming because of its’ ability to reach many people quickly. This type of bullying includes instant messaging, texting, video messaging, chat room, websites, webcasts, pictures, sexting, email and many other tecnosavvy forms of bullying.
Statistics show that 1 in 4 students are bullied in school on a daily basis. Bullying is a major cause of death of young people through suicide. ABC news reported that over 160,000 students miss school everyday due to bullying. It was also found according to St. Louis University that children who bully grow up to be disturbed adults who bully.
The following does not work in reducing or eliminating bullying:
1. Blaming the victim. – Everyone has a right to not be physically or mentally harmed. It is not the victims fault.
2. Encouraging or making the victim fight. – Assertiveness training does not work for every one. The victim must come to a solution that is right for them.
3. Telling the victim to ignore or forget it. – Ignoring the problem does not make the bully go away. The victim must continue to tell authorities until someone helps.
4. Lack of encouraging the reporting incidents of bullying. – Victims of bullying should be encouraged to report bullying incidents. There must be clear polices for reporting bullying.
5. Focusing on the personality of the victim. – The focus should be on working to change the culture and climate of the school, home, office or organization which fostered and allowed the bullying to begin and continue. Training and awareness in social skills should be provided for the entire school, company, group or family to change the culture of the group. Everyone should be included in the training whether they are being bullied or are the bully.