The psychological concept of bullying is not a new phenomenon among school children. It’s certainly a very old phenomenon. Schools are perceived to be places of dignity where the students should feel free and secure, but the prevalence of bullying has been the order of the day in these institutions. A significant number of students becomes the target of bullying. Even though bullying is an old phenomenon, it’s a widespread and a worldwide problem with the learning institutions. It is of worry that in the days, bullying has been viewed from a common perception that it was relatively harmless experience that students had to go through, but until recently that a different perception is rolling out over the school bullying.
Different definitions of bullying has been given from different sources and by different researchers. The definition this paper finds appropriately fit is the definition by O’Connell, Pepler & Craig (2009), that bullying occurs when a person repeatedly and willfully exercise power over another with malicious or hostile intent. This encompasses a big range of verbal or physical behaviors of an antisocial or an aggressive nature. These include, teasing, insulting, physical or verbal abuse, mobbing, harassing, humiliating, spreading rumors, exclusion from a group, and threatening.
Concern over the concept of bullying has resulted into documentation of extensive research work from different bodies over the recent decades because of the concept is a potential damaging form of violence among youths and children. Therefore, being that bullying is not a new phenomenon, the fact which is new is the growing awareness of the serious damaging effects of bullying on victims, bullies, communities and the schools.
Reasons why Schooling bullying is a major issue in the U.S.
The U.S. authorities’ research on victimization shows a strict course of action on bullying as there is overwhelming negative impact of the act as there poor psychological functioning among the adolescents and the children (Nasel et al., 2001).
The acknowledgement of the studies depicting facts which present serious threat to healthy development when a child undertakes his/her schooling career. This exhibits that bullies are at risk of being involved in alcohol abuse, crime and delinquency.
Social psychology concepts addressed in bullying
Peer cluster and involvement in bullying-A classroom where bullying takes place differ from several social groups in some significant aspects (Rigby, 2008). This makes bullying to be of some related behaviors and attitudes among other characteristics that the clique members share among themselves.
Aggressive interactions- the bullying concept fuels above the psychological aspect of aggressive interaction between the bullies and the bullies, but a mere social role among the group.
Challenges in handling bullying
Intervening over bullying situation appear challenging as the aspect of resolving this would only be easy when many people are witnessing a potentially harmful or dangerous situation. This is due to diffusion of responsibility, in that, no person feels personally responsible and perhaps expects another person else to action.
Secondly, the perception of the fact that bullies are powerful and popular makes it to be so involving to thwart their behavior. Instead, it seems adaptive for the students to distance themselves from low-status victims, for instance, avoid their company and then appear more like the bullies (Salivalli, Kaukiainen & Lagerspetz, 2010).
Lastly, another challenge in tackling bullying effectively comes in due to the fact that the target of bullying may just be one or two students, making the act efficient and less risky. In a case where there are only one victim bullying might seem justifiable and appear to be the fault of the victims, because the victims are selected on the basis of being rejected and kind of have few, if any friends.
Arguments in agreement with the concept of bullying
The impact of bullying is one agreed upon by several scholars. For instance, Bank (2000), provide that victims often have fear to go to school, considering it unhappy and unsafe place to be.The rate of drop outs and absenteeism among victimized students are high as depicted from the studies of Salivalli, Kaukiainen & Lagerspetz (2010). Repeated bullying results to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression problems. The students targeted by bullies often find it difficult to concentrate on their school work and this results to poor performance in their academics. Those students who are bullied thereby feeling anxious may consequently experience various emotional and physical ailments.
The impact of bullying spreads well beyond the victim and the bully, to the school, the peer group and the community. The category of individuals who are not involved into this act, but regularly witness it happen in schools, experience a feeling of less secure learning environment, the feeling that the bully might target them next and the knowledge that adults and teachers are either unwilling or unable to control the bullies’ behavior (Rigby, 2008).
Disagreeing views on the concept of bullying
Earlier on explanations of bullies’ behavior give emphasis on the aggressive personality pattern, which make them to aggress against other people in different contexts. Bullying behavior was viewed generally as an aggression, rather stable over some time period and independent of the social context. The earlier description of the personality of bullies were not yet affected with the currently used taxonomy which is based on the functions of an aggressive behavior, that is, the distinguishing factor between proactive and reactive aggression (O’Connell, Pepler, & Craig, 2009). A kind of bullying which is essentially deliberate and unprovoked, would be considered to be a subtype of proactive, and a goal-directed aggression. The conceptualization of bullying in the context of a proactive aggression has enabled acknowledgement of the fact that bullies are not just socially unskilled or emotionally agitated but can tactfully employ bullying to achieve their goals.
Among other fact perceived by the bullies when exercising such behavior is the pursuit of a higher degree of status intentions. That is, struggle to be a powerful being of dominant position among the peers. Status becomes the individual’s relative standing within the peer hierarchy- that is, an evaluation outcome of attributes which produce difference in prominence and respect (Nasel et al., 2001). This pursuit of status makes one have agentic goals including appearing self-confident and being an individual who makes impression on other, other think you are smart and respect you, while others admire you.
Ways to address and improve the social elements involved in bullying
Addressing the age difference among students
In attempt to improve the social relations among the students, age factor should be a factor for consideration. The possibility of having a huge age gap among the students in the same class, creates a scenario in which the older students will tend to bully those who are young (Due et al., 2005). The older students would feel that the younger students are disrespectful and rude while the young students would be teasing the older students because they are in the class. As a result, the older students might bully these young students to intimidate them to show some level of respect to them.
Management skills and control
There is necessity to uphold high skills and knowledge among teachers in respect to classroom management and control. This would ensure there is full capacity control of every undertaking of the students, thereby establishing a student friendly environment in classroom set-up as argued by Asamu (2006)..
The act of bullying has been a challenge that to a greater extent has gone unnoticed in a number of learning institutions. It generally calls for a collective pull of effort among the policymakers, the public, parents, and educators to curb the escalating effects of bullying around the globe as there is an alarming rise in the reported incidents of violence as a result of the established links between violence and bullying. A devoted attention towards stemming the aspects of bullying within our societies would be a prudent was of ensuring reduction in such disastrous act in learning institutions.
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