What is School Bullying?
This type of bullying takes place in an educational setting; it takes different forms such as physical, sexual, verbal or emotional. The following are various definitions of school bullying:
- The intention to harm which means the act is done deliberately and not accidental.
- Bullying causes the victim to experience distress; he or she can suffer from mild to severe psychological, social and/or physical trauma.
- Bullying is repetitive; it has the possibility to happen more than once.
- It involves inequity wherein the bully claims or believes that he or she has more ‘power’ than the victim.
- It is confrontational and involves aggressive behaviors.
Victims and Bullies
School bullying is a common social problem in schools and other educational establishments today. Based on a research conducted by the American Psychological Association, up to 80% of the students may experience bullying at one point in during their education.
School bullying can happen to anyone! This is regardless of age, gender, religion, socioeconomic standing and grade level. However, children who come from a lower socioeconomic background are more prone to bullying than those who come from well-off households.
Moreover, the rate of bullying is significantly higher with homosexual students than heterosexual students. Some even experience an ‘extension’ to school bullying as they continue to be harassed online through aggressive emails and instant messages. A survey done in the year 2013 shows that 20% of the high school students in the US are bullied in school, 15% are harassed online while 8% of students who are between the age of 12 and 18 are continuously bullied every week.
Research suggests that bullies are individuals who experience aggression or violence at home; they are usually people who are diagnosed with depression, anxiety or ADHD. School-aged bullies are said to have a mental health disorder and poor theory of mind. They are usually morally disengaged and are inclined to using egocentric reasoning strategies.
Effects of School Bullying
Some people think that bullying is a phase in life that everyone naturally goes through. However, this reasoning doesn’t justify the fact that this abusive act can cause severe damage to the victims. Some children do not accept school bullying and they stand up for themselves, while others are not brave enough and they end up unhappy and afraid. School bullying can affect both the victim and the bully:
- They may suffer from mild to severe physical and/or mental health problems.
- They may become depressed and anxious; they may suffer from sleeping and eating disorders and refuse to participate in daily activities.
- They may lose interest in school and begin to perform poorly in academic activities; some even end up dropping out of school.
- A number of reports have shown that school bullying can lead victims to commit suicide or retaliate even to the point of killing their bullies.
- They may develop alcohol and drug problems.
- They may engage in fights, vandalism and other destructive activities.
- Some may also drop-out from school.
- They may engage in sexual activities at an early age and end up getting sexually transmitted diseases.
- Bullies tend to become abusive toward their partners and children.