Bullying in childhood is a global phenomenon, a major public health problem, that increases the risk of poor health, social and educational outcomes in childhood and adolescence. These consequences will have an impact on all those who are involved in bullying (bullies, victims and bystanders) and can also affect adulthood.
Students who experience violence and bullying are more likely to have difficulty to develop basic democratic competences, such as empathy, respect for others, openness to other cultures, beliefs and self-efficacy. Bullying also increases the risk of school drop-out. Children who are perceived as being ‘different’ in any way are at a bigger risk of being bullied. Physical appearance is the most frequent trigger of childhood bullying. Other triggers are
Bullying,” according to professor Dan Olweus, ”poisons the educational environment and affects the learning of every child.
Bullying can destroy
- a child’s learning
- development and performance in school
- self esteem
- social life
- emotional well-being
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour mostly among school aged children and involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated over time. Children who bully use their power, such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, to control or harm others. Definition by stopbullying.gov
School bullying can occur in different educational settings.
- inside and outside the classroom
- around school
- to and from school
- in places such as toilets,changing rooms, corridors
Bullying is a behaviour that includes a whole range of actions that cause physical or emotional pain, from spreading rumours, to intentional exclusion, to physical abuse.
- Verbal bullying is to say or write mean things Verbal bullying includes
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Social bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships Social bullying includes:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumours about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
- Cyberbullying takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets.
- Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.
- Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.
- The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok
Schools play a key role in tackling bullying.
Taking action on bullying is not only a matter of finding better ways of responding to bullying, after they have occurred, it is also about creating a school environment in which bullying is less likely to happen. Research clearly shows, that a positive school climate and culture. is an essential component to bullying prevention.
There is no single method that will suit all schools, but there are some measures for preventing bullying, that are supported by intervention research. The whole-school anti-bullying programmes are fundamental for effective bullying prevention. The program promotes peer support systems and involves active and well-trained teachers and parents, to create a safe learning environment in which bullying not is allowed. It is essential that the voices of all school stakeholders(all school staff, students and parents/guardians are heard in the process of policy-development.
By equipping everyone in the school with the skills and the framework to identify and manage bullying behaviour, schools can create a supportive and positive environment where bullying has no place.
Many victims of school bullying do not tell anyone that they are beeing bullyied. Depending on lack of trust in adults, including teachers, fear of repercussions or reprisals, shame or concerns that they will not be taken seriously or not knowing where to seek help.
- Some warning signs that a child is bullied
- unexplained cuts or bruises
- damaged or missing clothing, books, school supplies, or other belongings
- loss of appetite
- trouble sleeping
- emotionally reticent
- sudden poor performance or loss of interest in school work
- no longer wanting to be with friends
- asking to stay home sick because of frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches
- social anxiety or low self-esteem
- feeling moody or depressed
If schools do not take action against degrading treatment , the students will set the standards.
Bully behaviour that is not intervened can lead to
- attitudes that bullying and violence is positive
- a more disrespectful approach towards others
- hurting behaviours as fully accepted
- learning to master social situations by bullying others
- learning that bullying can be rewarding
Schools and everyone working within education must ensure that a tolerant, respectful and friendly atmosphere is spread in schools and they must set a good example themselves. Under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, schools have a formal duty to actively stop all forms of degrading treatment.
Article 19 UNCRC states that all children have the right to be safe from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.”
Bullying prevention programs are vital to implement in schools to ensure that children have safe, supportive and caring learning environments without fear of being bullied and for the achievement of all the SDGs Goals in particular Goal 4.
Dan Olweus, research professor of psychology at the University of Bergen in Norway, was a world-leading expert on bullying problems. Olweus conducted the first systematic intervention study against bullying in the world, which documented positive effects of what is now the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.
Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do
Bullying at School is the definitive book on bullying/victim problems in school and on effective ways of counteracting and preventing such problems.
By Dan Olweus
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