Essay Example on Bullying. Sample Composition Writing on Bullying
Bullying Common Among Teens. Almost a third of teens either were bullies or were bullied, a new study of 16,000 students found. But whether these bullying behaviors contribute to more aggressive and violent acts in the future is debatable, experts say. The research found 30 percent of 6th through 10th graders are involved in bullying at school, according to researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The frequency of bullying was found to be higher among 6-8th graders compared to 9-10th graders, and was more prominent among boys compared to girls. The study, led by Dr. Tonja Nansel, analyzed surveys of almost 16,000 students throughout the United States and appears in the April 25 Journal of the American Medical Association. Bullying as defined as when a teen’s behavior is purposefully meant to harm or disturb another child, when it occurs repeatedly over time, and when there is an imbalance of power between the kids involved.
Types of bullying behaviors cited in the study included verbal belittling regarding religion, race, looks, or speech; hitting, pushing or slapping; rumors; and sexual comments or gestures. The study also found that both the perpetrators and the victims are lonelier than most kids and do not have very good relationships with their peers.
“Bullying and being bullied appear to be important indicators that something is wrong, and children who experience either or both need help,” stated child psychology experts Dr. Howard Spivak of the New England Medical Center, in Boston, and Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith of the Harvard School of Public Health, commenting on the research. In light of recent school shootings, parents and educators have become concerned about whether bullying behavior or being the victim of one may contribute to more serious acts of aggression.
But experts disagree about predicting future violent behavior from earlier bullying tendencies. Dr. Robert Findling, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University Hospital of Cleveland believes "aggression is a very stable trait that is long-lasting." Dr. Carl Bell, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Illinois, in Chicago, adds, "there is some link between bullying behavior and later violence, but we are just not certain how strong it is." One commonly cited British study reported that individuals with a history of bulling had a four-fold increase in criminal behavior by the age of 24. The British study, however, examined only violent behaviors - such as beating someone up after school, and not the more benign behaviors like name-calling or giving someone the cold shoulder.
But some see bullying as part of the more normal aspect of children’s behavior, not leading to excessive violence later on. Dr. Eugene Beresin, director of child and adolescent psychological training at McLean and Massachusetts General Hospitals says, "school shootings are an anomaly, over-rated, exaggerated, and extremely rare ... Bullying, however, is very common and has definite serious social effects ... we should be much more concerned with bullying and self-inflicted violence." In fact, when the Secret Service recently attempted to figure out the “profile,” of a child that acts out with gun violence, it found a student's tendency to become a "school shooter" cannot be predicted based on involvement in bullying activities.
Poor academic performance and psychological disorders also were not indicators of potential violent behavior. The Secret Service concluded, " the use of profiles is ineffective and inefficient."
Essay Example 2: How to Prevent Bullying
Many argue that there is no real way to prevent bullying. Kids will be kids and that is all there is to it. But, because of the incredibly negative effects that have recently been found to occur to the victims of bullying, there has been an active effort to limit bullying. The solutions are easy ones, and easy to practice.
Kids can make bullying seem unappealing. Often times, students fall victim to the bystander effect, simply letting the bullying occur. But, it has been found that if students take an active resistance when they see a fellow classmate being bullied, the bully is less likely to act out in this way. By simply telling the bully that what they are doing is not right, a bully will often cease their actions because the cause of their bullying is many times a search for social acceptance. With these facts in mind, kids can help combat the problem of bullying.
Many of the suggestions to prevent bullying, however, seem to be counterproductive. In one article, the author – Laura Egodigwe – gives suggestions on avoiding bullying, not necessarily preventing or stopping it. She says to, “Ignore or avoid. If a bully asks for your lunch money, keep walking and act like you don't hear them,” and “Be aware. Knowing who's in front of you or behind you in the hallway or in a line at school can help you to avoid bullies”. These, though they are great suggestions for avoiding bullies, they really do not solve anything. They are as helpful as, say, telling a child that the best places to hide are behind the jungle gym and by the vending machine.
More proactive approaches involve actions like walking over to someone who is eating alone at the cafeteria (Rinaldo, 2005). As anyone can recall, high school is a social hierarchy, and to do this, one may risk social ostracizing, but they will also be taking an active role in making sure that the other child alone is not being bullied. It will in turn make the school a more pleasant environment. Rinaldo writes, “Experts say that bullying is much less common in schools where kids take the time to make friends with students outside their regular social group” (Rinaldo, 2005).
There are also groups like Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) that serve has mediators and helpers when bullying arises. It is natural to assume that where there is bullying, there is violence, and the members of SAVE are aware of this fact. SAVE attempt to take a group of individuals – who are often powerless against the pains of bullying – and turn them into a cohesive group (Rinaldo, 2005).
So, how do we prevent bullying? It is in the hands of the kids and the teachers. The teachers need to listen and watch. They have to pick up on the clues that a child is being bullied. As for students, to embrace the victim is to tell the bully that what they are doing is unacceptable. The bully will stop if the bully knows that they are not getting the kind of attention they sought through bullying. It is a group effort, and an effort that is worth it.
If Your Child Is Being Bullied
First, listen to your child. Just talking about the problem and knowing that you care can be helpful and comforting. Make sure that your child knows that you do not blame or feel disappointed in him or her. Ask your child what he or she thinks should be done. What has your child tried? What worked and what didn’t?
Encourage your child not to retaliate against the bully or to let the bully see how much he or she has upset your child. Getting a response just reinforces the bullying behavior. Tell your child that if at all possible, he or she should stay calm and respond evenly or firmly (e.g., "I don't like your teasing and I want you to stop right now" or "Stop doing that now. If you keep on, I'm going to report you to the principal."). Some children find it works to just say nothing and walk away. At other times, it can be more effective to make a joke, laugh at oneself, or to use humor to defuse the situation. Brainstorm with your child to develop some effective responses. Then role-play different approaches and responses with your child so that he or she will be prepared the next time.
Encourage your child to go immediately to a teacher, principal, or other nearby adult if he or she feels seriously threatened.
You may also want to help your child to develop strategies to avoid situations where bullying can happen and to avoid being alone with bullies. If bullying occurs on the way to or from school, your child may want to take a different route, leave at a different time, or find others to walk to and from school with. If bullying occurs at school, your child may want to avoid areas that are isolated or unsupervised by adults, and stick with friends as much as possible.
Encourage your child to form strong friendships. A child or teen who has loyal friends is less likely to be singled out by a bully, and they can be valuable allies if your child is targeted. If your child lacks friends, help him or her to develop more friendships. Encourage your child to participate in positive social groups that meet his or her interests, such as after-school groups, church groups, extra-curricular activities, or teams. In addition to helping your child make friends, these activities can help to develop your child’s special skills and rebuild his or her self-confidence.
In many cases, bullying won’t require your involvement. If the bullying is persistent and is harming your child’s emotional health, you need to intervene by talking to your child’s teacher, school counselor, or principal about the problem in order to make sure your child is safe, that effective consequences are applied toward the bully, and that monitoring at school is adequate. Advocate for the involvement of the bully’s parents. Suggest that the school implement a comprehensive anti-bullying program.
If Your Child Is Bullying Others
If you learn that your child is bullying others, sit down and talk with your child immediately. It is important to take the problem seriously, because children and youth who bully others are at a greater risk for serious problems later in life. Give your child an opportunity to explain his/her behavior, but do not accept any excuses or justifications. Make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated and outline the consequences for further unacceptable behavior. If the problem is occurring at school, tell your child you support the school’s right to punish him/her if the behavior persists.
Encourage your child to try to understand how the bullying feels to his/her victim. Bullies often have trouble empathizing with their victims so it is important to discuss with your child how bullying feels. How would your child feel if it happened to him/her? If you or someone close to you has been bullied in the past, you might want to share the story with your child, discussing the emotional impact.
Increase your supervision of your child’s activities and whereabouts, and know who your child is spending time with. Make an effort to observe your child in one-on-one interactions. Stop any show of aggression immediately and help your child find other, nonviolent ways of reacting to certain situations. Praise your child for appropriate behaviors.
If the bullying continues, you need to seek help for your child. Without intervention, bullying can lead to serious academic, social, emotional and legal difficulties. Talk to your child's pediatrician, teacher, principal, school counselor, or your family physician. If the bullying continues, a comprehensive evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professional should be arranged. The evaluation can help you and your child understand what is causing the bullying and help you develop a plan to stop the destructive behavior.