Behavior & Psychology

School bullying: Why is it important to talk to your children about it?

What is school bullying?

It’s the continuous physical or psychological abuse where the offender terrorizes or harms others. Especially, people who are weak or little. Physical bullying is common among boys (harassment, injury cause). While emotional bullying is common among girls (verbal humiliation, group exclusion). School bullying is on the rise in elementary school, while at older ages it’s declining.

Offenders and victims

Offenders are usually aggressive, overconfident and have poor academic performance. It has been observed that they come from dysfunctional families, where violence and corporal punishment are often used. There is neglect and indifference towards the child. While the frequent tensions and insults between the parents replace the civilized conversation. Therefore, these children try to gain attention through their inappropriate behavior. They also externalize their accumulated anger, imitating their role models. That is, the parents.

The victims, on the other hand, are passive, lonely and sensitive individuals. With low self-esteem and insecurities, who are unable to reciprocate the bullying behavior they receive from the offenders. They are often absent from school in order to avoid being bullied. While experiencing psychosomatic symptoms of anxiety, depression and psychological problems.

Bullying is hard to reveal, because victims conceal the truth and tremble at the thought of further abuse.

Consequences of bullying

As for the victims, there are extreme cases of deaths from beatings and shootings in high schools. The latter is most pronounced in the USA. Cases of suicides of children who have been victims of extreme bullying, have been reported. These children are unhappy, scared and anxious. They try to avoid school and communication with other peers. Acquiring difficulty concentrating, which results to a low academic performance. Many children become depressed and drop out of school. Girls close themselves off. They lose all interest and get insecure about their appearance and personality. The boys become restless and irritable. In the long run, it’s very likely that victims will face adversities on a social, emotional and educational level.

However, offenders also experience negative long-term consequences. They face difficulties in their interpersonal relationships, while many of them resort to substance use as young adults. According to studies, student offenders are more likely to be in adulthood, as accused of antisocial/criminal behavior, in court. According to the research of the University of British Columbia, 60% of children who are offenders from sixth grade to high school, were most likel convicted at the age of twenty-four. In the future, when these children will become parents, they will raise in the same way the offenders of the next generation. Thus, school bullying will never stop. When unacceptable behaviors don’t meet obstacles and penalties, violence continues to rise and crime flourishes.

According to psychologists Sonia Sharp and Peter K. Smith, bullying can also have an impact on observers. They can learn that bullying is a quick and effective way to get what you want. As adults they might continue to accept the adoption of aggressive behaviors, by a third party, as normal and to their tacit consent.

Global statistics

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 1 in 3 children worldwide is a victim of school bullying. More specifically, it concerns over 32% of boys and 28% of girls. However, there are countries, where boys are less affected than girls and vice versa. Finally, children of immigrants and parents with low socioeconomic status are more likely to be victimized by their classmates.

The role of the technology

The rapid development of the technology, the uncontrolled and long use of electronic devices by children of all ages (tablets, mobile phones, television). The content of free-to-air TV shows. Movies and various internet videos is full of inappropriate phraseology, sex and violence. The modern cartoons are nothing like the old ones we used to watch. They always had a moral lesson to tell us. Today, they are scary, intense, imposing. They fill children with illusions of magical powers and negative emotions. The heroes have wild and angry gazes. Whoever has got the greatest physical strength or holds a weapon wins. Children get influenced and imitate these behaviors.

These devices are an integral part of children’s daily lives. That’s why, more informational and anti-bullying messages should be shown through them. To educate and cultivate empathy. Inform about the effects of bullying on offenders, victims and observers. Whatever children see, they remember it, learn it, and adopt it.

The role of parents and school

  • The school management must create an environment, where there will be no room for these kind of incidents.
  • Regular supervision in all areas of the school must be mandatory. Adult supervision significantly reduces bullying.
  • Establish penalties in case of inappropriate behaviors.
  • Once a month, dedicate half an hour in the classrooms to the issue of school bullying.
  • Encourage children who are aware of bullying, but are afraid to intervene that it’s important to support victims.
  • More informative campaigns for students, teachers and parents. Ways of prevention and dealing.
  • Parents, teachers and students must have good communication and cooperation with each other.
  • Children must have positive role models at home. Parents should help their children to develop all social skills. Set boundaries to teach them which behaviors are socially acceptable and which are not. Inform them about the consequences and penalties of bullying behavior.

School bullying is a serious social issue that affects all of us. Students, teachers, school community and the community at large.

You can make it stop by observing, asking and intervention. It affects the psychology of so many children. Endangers their physical integrity and in some cases their precious lives. All children need to feel safe and confident. Talk to them, listen and respect them. Most importantly, don’t ignore the signs that either your child may be the victim or the offender himself.





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