Let's start with some vocabulary...
In most bullying situations there is usually a bully, a victim or target, and bystanders.
- Bully - the person using their power to hurt someone
- Victim or Target - the person being harmed
- Bystanders - people watching that are not directly involved in afflicting harm
What is Bullying Behavior?
Generally defined as repeated physical, verbal, sexual, or psychological attacks or intimidation by one individual who is perceived as being physically or psychologically stronger than another.
Or more simply..
Someone who uses their power unfairly to hurt someone else
There are two different types of bullying: direct and indirect.
Examples of direct bullying...
- Physical - hitting, kicking, punching, destruction of property
- Verbal - teasing, name-calling, taunting a person to make him/her angry
Examples of indirect bullying...
- Spreading rumors, excluding others from a group, enlisting someone else to assault or hurt someone for the bully
- Technology can also be used as a weapon to hurt others (i.e. Facebook, texting, three-way calling, etc.)
How does this behavior effect us as individuals?
- Research tells us that there are many consequences and effects of bullying, here are some of them.
- For the bully, 6 out of 10 kids identified as bullies in middle school are convicted of a crime by the time they reach 24 years of age.
- Physical, emotional, or mental pain for everyone involved, mostly the target.
- Years after experiencing bullying, adults who were bullied as teens have higher levels of depression and poorer self-esteem than other adults.
- The old nursery rhyme, "Sticks and stones can break my bones but, words can never hurt me" is more correctly stated as "Sticks and stones can break my bones but, words can break my heart".
Amazingly there is an actual word in our language today which describes someone who has taken their own life because of bullying - Bullycide. The term was coined by journalist Neil Marr in the book Bullycide: Death at Playtime. Included in his book precious children took their own lives because they were driven beyond their ability to cope with the abuse of bullying.
Bullycide in America is an organization that was developed by mom's who lost their children to suicide. Their organization speaks out against bullying and offers advice for children and teens who witness bullying. Their website is: http://www.bullycide.org
Why do some students choose to bully?
- Rewarded by attention from peers, power from peers
- Victim of abuse in the home or at school by peers (being bullied or have been bullied)
- Victim of neglect
- Influence of others to bully
- Poor or no role model
- A lack of understanding of social, cultural, psychological, or physical differences
- Conduct disorder
How do we prevent bullying from occurring?
Our goal is to decrease the risk of bullying while increasing protective factors for all students.
Educating everyone to the severity of bullying, what it looks like, how to respond to it, and having consequences for it. Since we have discussed what bullying looks like and the lethality for some bullying situations, how can we respond to it? Some situations absolutely need administrations involvement to give a consequence to the bully. Other times students may be able to correct the situation by how they respond. If you are being bullied get help. Tell a responsible adult about the problem and ask for help. Decide together if it is best for you to stand up for yourself and tell the bully to stop - or if another person should step in.
The following are some possible suggestions read over them and find one that you or your child may feel comfortable saying.
- The victim can say "So" to every statement made by the bully letting the bully know they are not intimidated.
- When in doubt SHOUT "STOP!"
- Distraction - Make a joke about it. Change the subject.
- Avoidance - Stay away from the bully or areas where he/she bullies.
- Report - Tell your teacher, counselor, principal, or parent.
Drop a note in the Counselor's Box. Tattling is when you want to get someone in trouble. Reporting is when you want to Help someone.
- Stay with a group of friends
- Be a Bully Buster! Stand up for others! Report. Some words to say to help others include:
- "We don't like the way you're acting, Stop!"
- "We don't like the way you're treating our friend!"
- "This isn't cool!"
- "This is mean, Stop!"