Impactof Bullying of Early Adolescent
Impactof Bullying of Early Adolescent
Bullyingis a problem that affects individuals from all age groups, but mainlywidespread among adolescents. It includes behaviors that focus onmaking someone else feel insufficient by mocking or harassing them.Bullying involves using physical violence, emotional harassment, andverbally belittling speech. It entails active actions with theintention of ostracizing another person (Howard, Flora & Griffin,1999). Physical harassment is a form of bullying where the bullyattempts to dominate another teenager physically (Stevens, 2010). Itconsists of punching, kicking, and other physical harmful activities,which are used to introduce fear in the victim and possible coercethem to do something (Howard, Flora & Griffin, 1999). Verbalbullying entails using demeaning language to destroy another person’sself-image (Stevens, 2010). Bullies who use the verbal techniquestease a lot and use sarcasm to hurt others’ feelings or humiliatethe other teen especially in front of their friends or age mates(Thornberg et al., 2012). On the other hand, bullies who aim atgetting another person to feel isolated use emotional techniques(Espelage & Holt, 2001). The bully uses this strategy to makeother teenagers exclude the person being bullied. Today,cyberbullying is also becoming a very real problem for mostteenagers. This type of harassment can be particularly devastatingbecause the victim cannot find any safe place in the virtual world(Zins, Maher & Elias, 2014). However, the physical bully iscommon among teenage boys while the girls often use emotional andverbal bullying (Espelage & Holt, 2001). Then again, expertsexplain that physical bullying is not as common among teenagers ascompared to verbal and emotional harassment.
Bullyingis a very common social issue that it has attracted scientists andresearchers from different fields to conduct various surveys on theissue. According to experts, bullies mainly thrive on dominating orcontrolling their peers (Zins, Maher & Elias, 2014).Approximately 30 percent of adolescents in the United States havebeen involved in bullying as either the victim or as a bully. The2015 National Center for Educational Statistics shows that 19.6percent of high school students report being bullied for the past oneyear (Bosworth,Espelage, & Simon, 1999).Among the bullied adolescents, 36 percent reported the bullying caseswhile 64 percent did not. Various studies and reports have indicatedthat about 15 percent of adolescents are bullied on a regular basis,or they initiate the bullying behaviors (Olweus, 1993). According toresearch, 55 percent of the harassments are based on the victim’sphysical appearance, 37 percent due to body shape, and 16 percentbecause of race(Russellet al., 2012). The bullying victims are typically insecure, have lowesteem issues, anxious, and can hardly defend them during aconfrontation. Thus, they are usually isolated or may have very fewfriends because they lack social skills (Olweus, 1993).
Impactof Bullying on the victims
Whethera bully used direct or indirect techniques, the key element ofbullying is that the psychological and physical intimidation occursrepetitively to create a continuous pattern of abuse and harassment(Dombeck, 2014). Hence, it has tremendous effects on a social andpsychological level. Bullying can lead to depression, stunted socialdevelopment, and drug use all of which can affect an individual evenin adulthood (Ragoo, 2014). Teenage victims experience a realsuffering that can interfere with their emotional and socialdevelopment. Some of the victims have also gone as far as attemptedsuicide rather than to continue enduring the punishments andharassment (Hertz, Donato & Wright, 2013). Teenagers cravedependence especially from their parents where they prefer to solvetheir issues on their own (Dornbusch, 1989). However, their copingskills are not fully developed at this stage in life. It means thatthe will start internalize their problems as a way of coping withbullying situations and instead develop a sense of helplessness(Dornbusch, 1989). Hence, it will result in anxiety and depressiondisorders, which can also cause adverse health effects such asstomachaches and headaches as compared to the nonbullied peers. Themost common outcomes related to bullying are depression. Studies showthat 29.5 percent of bullied teenagers exhibit depressive symptoms,and 50 percent of the victims suffer from severe anxiety and evensuicidal tendencies (Paludi, 2011). Additionally, 81 percent ofvictims start taking alcohol to cope with the harassment with 58percent drinking more than five drinks in a month (Olweus, 1993). Asa result, the psychological effects of bullying can be long lastingespecially to the victims more than the bullies do.
Impactof Bullying on the bully
Inmost cases, the caregivers usually ignore the bully because they areoften seen as the main cause of the problem (Bingham, 2010). However,it is also important to intervene and help the bully as well. Bullieshave problems relating to their peers because they tend to beviolent, cruel, lack empathy, manipulative, and unpleasant. Even so,there are cases where bullies belong to a larger social group wherethey employ their bullying behaviors (Paludi, 2011). Nonetheless,these teenagers are also at risk of short and long-term emotionalissues of their actions as much as their victims are. Bullies seem tohave the desire to feel in control and powerful since they derivepleasure from inflicting pain on others (Harris & Petrie, 2003).Besides, they have little sympathy for their victims and often thebully blames the victims for provocation. Research also indicatesthat most bullies show insubordination towards adults and areantisocial (Paludi, 2011). Various studies have provided evidence tosupport the link between bullying during adolescent years andcriminal tendencies experienced in adulthood. One study showed that60 percent of the bullies have at least one criminal charge by thetime they attain 25 years (Harris & Petrie, 2003). Besides, theregular bullies maintain their manners into adulthood, which makes ithard for them to form and sustain positive relationships (Smith etal., 2003). Consequently, they are at higher risk of substance abuse,poor academic performance, and cases of violence later in adulthood.
Aspectsto Consider When Choosing an Anti-Bullying Program
First,it is crucial to consider the multiple risk and protective factorswhen developing an anti-bullying program. Several programs have beenimplemented in the United States, Northern Europe, Finland, Norway,and Sweden. The primary goals of any anti-bullying program are toreduce the existing bullying problems and to prevent the emergence ofnew cases (Nigam, 2013). Despite the diversity of particulartechniques and objectives, studies provide evidence of universal coreelements that result in the decrease of bullying occurrences amongadolescents (Nigam, 2013). Collectively, all the programs show thattheir effectiveness is determined by the non-stigmatizationinvolvement of the entire school, which includes the parents, schoolstaff, and integrating the program into the classroom activities.According to research, these programs have reduced bullying by 50percent, which is a significant achievement (Young, 1998). Aneffective anti-bullying program aims to effect change in the entireschool rather than concentrating on just specific peer interactions.The program will only prove effective if the students are taught howto communicate and demonstrate social skills. The program also usessupport at all levels from all the main players in the society(Young, 1998). For example, Olweus is one of the most trustedschool-based anti-bullying programs. It addresses bullying in asystematic manner by focusing on the classroom, individual, school,and community level.
Normally,parents are unaware of the bullying issues, and they rarely discussit with their children (Craig, Pepler & Cummings, 2015).Similarly, most teachers hardly address the issues of bullying andsometimes they view emotional and verbal harassment as harmlessunless it crosses the line to physical assault (Bingham, 2010). Assuch, a considerable percentage of the adolescents believe that theadults cannot offer any substantial help (Petrosino et al., 2010).Consequently, involving adults in bullying cases seem ineffective tomost victims, as they tend to attract more harassment from theperpetrators. Contrary to that belief, a program that includessupport from other members of the society has higher chances ofsuccess (Nigam, 2013).
Inmost cases, bullying occurs in schools with its negative consequencesaffecting the general school climate (Publishing, 2010). As such, itis crucial to invest in an anti-bullying program that will serve toprevent bullying and rehabilitate both the victims and perpetrators.The school-based programs have proved successful in decreasingbullying cases by 25 percent (Smith & Thompson, 1991). Bullyingis a social issue that takes place in a social context in which theparents and the school faculty are unaware of the scope of theproblem (Rigby & Australian Council for Educational Research,2007). On the other hand, the teenagers are aware of the problem butthey are reluctant to get involved, or they do not know the bestmeans to tackle it (Meyer et al., 2013). Conversely, experts haveprovided proof to show that the observers also play a role inbullying cases. The harassment can occur in isolated places, butmostly the bullies choose crowded places to harass their victims.Survey shows that 43 percent of teenagers try to help the victim(Meyer et al., 2013). Research also indicates that 57 percentbullying stops when other teenagers intervene on behalf of the victim(Meyer et al., 2013). The statistics show the importance ofdeveloping an anti-bullying program that will involve all theteenagers for it to work successfully. Given this situation, anefficient anti-bullying program must incorporate the whole schoolincluding the parents and teachers rather than just focusing on thevictims and the bullies (Farrington & Ttofi, 2010).
TheBest Program to Prevent Bullying
Thebest approach for preventing harassment is to use a comprehensiveanti-bullying program. It should incorporate the ideas similar tothose employed in the Friendly Schools Program in Australia, GRIN inthe United States, and the Dutch anti-bullying program. The programshould include several strategies measures to improve the schoolenvironment, counseling, and empowering the students to speak up andseek help (American Humane Association, 2013). It should havedifferent phases to promote awareness throughout the entire schoolcommunity. Such a program would first require the coordinators totake a survey to determine the degree of awareness of bullying issuesamong the teachers, parents, and students (Smith & Thompson,1991). Then the information gathered would determine the level ofawareness campaign and intervention required to reduce cases ofbullying (Farrington & Ttofi, 2010). Besides, the questionnaireshelp the students and adults become aware of the extent of theproblem while it also justifies the need for the interventionmeasures. The program coordinators and the school faculty worktogether to set aside time during the parent-teacher conference toconduct an awareness campaign (Pepler, Rigby & Smith, 2004). Thepurpose of such an exercise is to highlight the importance ofparental involvement and encourage their support to attain the setgoals and ensure the plan’s success (American Humane Association,2013).
Secondly,the teachers and students should have an active role an active rolewhere they will work together on a classroom level to formulate rulesagainst bullying (Swearer & Espelage, 2007). The programs thathave proved successful engage the teenagers in a sequence of formalrole-playing exercises and assignments. They teach the victims andperpetrators of alternative ways in which they can interact withoutcausing any harm (Meyer et al., 2013). Besides, it helps otherteenagers learn how to assist the victims and promote a favorableanti-bullying social climate at school and in the society (Pepler,Rigby & Smith, 2004). Additionally, the program includes thefeatures of individualized interventions with both the victims andbullies (Swearer & Espelage, 2007). The plan is to implementcooperative learning activities that will reduce social isolation.However, it requires increased adult supervision during the socialevents.
Thenagain, the program can use videos in classrooms to illustrate to theteenagers the harmful effects of bullying. Hence, it will show theharassment as a form of crime and not just a harmless act (Rigby &Australian Council for Educational Research, 2007). According toexperts, when teenagers are presented with the gravity of theconsequences associated with bullying, they will most likely tobehave appropriately in situations where harassment takes place(Publishing, 2010). The program also teaches the adolescents bothemotional and social skills. As explained, one of the reasons thelack of proper social skills promotes bullying incidents. Teachingthe teenagers the social awareness skills ensures that they learnempathy, understanding behavior norms, and recognize the supportavailable from the caregivers, teachers, school, community, and peers(Publishing, 2010).
Thirdly,the program includes an intervention strategy, which requires directaction by the teachers or parents. In some cases, an adult maywitness an incident of bullying, which will require them to takeimmediate action (Thornberg et al., 2012). For example, they canreprimand the bully for their action and possibly give themappropriate punishment. On the other hand, they should talk to thevictim and encourage him or her to speak up and seek help if theharassment continues (Thornberg et al., 2012). In most cases, studieshave proved that the bullying situations are made worse when thevictim does not report the incident. However, the program will haveto educate the caregivers and teachers of the warning signs that canindicate bullying (Ragoo, 2014). The adults can use such knowledge toprotect the victims and minimize the damage. The program can involvethe parents either in the form of information sessions or familytherapy. It can also apply other tactics where the parents are taughtto highlight the importance of what their children learn regardingbullying (Craig, Pepler & Cummings, 2015). Implementing theentire school approach ensures that the administrators, teachers, andschool counselors to reinforce positive behavior among students andpromote anti-bulling messages. Prevention is best attained throughintervention techniques and education (Swearer & Espelage, 2007).At the classrooms, the teacher works together with the student todevise rules against bullying. Additionally, the students give theirinput on the best strategies to deal with bullying, which ensuresthat it is within the measures are within their limits (Rigby &Slee, 1999).
Lastly,the program also requires government help to attain and maintaineffectiveness in reducing bullying (Petrosino et al., 2010). Thestate government should put in place laws that will discouragebullying both in school and in the community. For example, Michiganhas 37 laws all designed to prevent cases of harassment. It acts as ahindrance as the adolescents can clearly see the consequences ofbullying. On the other hand, it also encourages the school faculty totake direct measures to ensure that the school environment is freeand safe for all students (Regoli, Hewitt & DeLisi, 2010). Theprogram can be very successful considering that it incorporates ideasthat have been used in other anti-bullying programs in differentparts of the world. In the end, it is quite challenging to stop teenbullying entirely especially if it is cyber, verbal, or emotional(Rigby, & Slee, 1999). However, the program will go a long way toavoid a significant number of cases of bullying cases. Besides, itcan work with any school size, setting, and racial composition.
Bullyingis a serious problem that can have a dramatic effect on teenagers’ability to progress both socially and academically. It can exist inmany forms from physical, psychological, cyber and verbal. Today,incidents of aggression and violence among teenagers are a frequentand escalating occurrence that has attracted the interest ofeducators, scientists, and policy makers. It has been proved thatbullying can have lifelong effects, but particularly when it startsduring adolescence stage. The best solution for all forms ofharassment is when the anti-bullying program offers strong socialsupport from school faculty, family, and peers. Bullying is aworrying issue due to its impact on teenagers psychological andhealth development. Most harassment cases occur in the schoolcompound, which is later then transferred back into the community.Therefore, it requires a prevention and intervention measure thatwill incorporate the school faculty and parents to deal with bullyingfrom all sides in the society. Accordingly, a comprehensiveanti-bullying plan is necessary to intervene and possibly prevent theharassment. The program includes all the students, school staff, andthe parents who work collectively to ensure that the school andcommunity environment is safe and fear-free. The teenagers also havea vital role to play that can significantly reduce case of bullying.The program can use an initiative that allows peer counseling wherethe students share the experiences and learn to speak up and ask forhelp when they encounter bullying. Some of the students especiallythose who are not directly involved in bullying rarely speak up oreven come to the aid of the victim. Most of them assume that it isnone of the business since the incidents do not affect the directly.However, if teenagers work collectively and take individualresponsibility to reduce bullying, the efforts will help in ensuringthat bullies are not protected while giving the victims a safeenvironment to report harassment and seek help. Thus, it willencourage them to share because those victims who do not have anyoneto share their dilemma with suffer the most. Even so, for thistechnique to work it will require the parents and school faculty toemphasize the importance of the non-bullying environment.
However,when preventing bullying, the one-fits-all approach does not work. Onthe other hand, it is clear that school and the community need tocome together to build an environment based on open-mindedness andrespect among teenagers. As such, the anti-bullying efforts will havemore chances of success if all entities work together. Later, it willrequire another program to support the anti-bullying efforts. Thesupportive program will mainly focus on the bullies by ensuring thatit does not promote zero tolerance policy to harassment. Thus, itwill identify and enforce clear consequences for teenagers involvedin the bullying cases. Finally, given bullying is a prevalent issueall over the world, it is imperative for future efforts to focus notonly on reducing it but also aim to foster resilience despite itsexistence.
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