Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bullying Paper so Far...

            This paper explores the causes and effects of bullying and cyber-bullying in schools today. Tragedy has been demonstrated through horrible events such as school shootings and suicide among youths, and bullying has been a precursor to these events. Recent research that has been conducted in the United States has documented that bullying is a common and potentially damaging form of violence among children (Limber, Nation). Students may be bullied in the school environment when a student says mean or hurtful things to them, exclude students from groups on purpose, physical abuse such as kicking and punching, along with many other reasons. Bullying is clearly a problem within our schools today, and teachers as well as other school personnel need to take an active role in minimizing the amount of bullying that is going on in school. If adults step in against bullying, many of the bullying events that take place in schools would not go as far as they do if an individual in the school takes a stand to stop it. The amount of metal detectors and extra security measures that take place in schools do not decrease the amount of bullying that is still going on throughout the entire school year. One-third to half of America’s children report being bullied at least once and 10 percent feel continually targeted (Sadker, Zittleman). This paper will go into great detail about the causes and effects of bullying and cyber-bullying in schools and ways that schools and other individuals can step in to stop the amount of violence and hate that is in the school environment.

Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: A Look into the Causes and Effects of Bullying in Schools
            What exactly is bullying? A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students (Olweus). Bullying can be defined as repeated and systematic harassment and attacks on others. Bullying takes many forms, and can include many different behaviors such as physical violence and attacks, verbal taunts, name-calling, and put-downs, threats and intimidation, and exclusion from the peer group. Physical bullying can entail poking, pinching, kicking, biting, hair pulling, or beating (NASW, 2002). Verbal bullying can include teasing, name-calling, threats, and spreading rumors. In a typical classroom of about twenty students, two or three come to school every day fearing being bullied, harassed, or worse. More than forty percent of students admit to bullying a classmate at least once; more than half have witnessed bullying and have not stopped or reported it (Sadker, Zittleman). There are specific characteristics of the bully and the victim that can help researchers look into reasons why students bully and what the victims are doing to try and stop the bullying.
            Individuals that exhibit bully behavior have little empathy for others, have a more positive attitude towards violence, and are aggressive to parents and teachers as well as their peers (Olweus, 1993). Bullies that are in the schools are unlike their peers because of the fact that they have more aggression built up towards others. Bullies that exhibit aggressive behavior have an inability to channel their anger in a more acceptable fashion. Children who bully are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school (Sadker, Zittleman). Causes of students bullying may come from a power imbalance, where the student feels more powerful and stronger than their peers. This gives these students a feeling of authority, and they believe that they can pick on their peers who are weaker and more timid than themselves.  Sometimes older students feel the need to bully younger students, and they use their age and size as an advantage. In addition, there are gender differences that add to the patterns of bullying in our society today.
            One conclusion made about gender differences in bullying is that boys are more likely to be both the perpetrators and the victims of aggressive physical and verbal bullying by peers (A.S.A.P). Boys are more likely to engage in physical bullying, while girls often revert to relational bullying, such as gossip and exclusion (Sadker, Zittleman). Boys and girls both engage in bullying, but their behaviors are much different. Olewus (1993) reports that one of his studies, conducted with students in grades five to seven, found that sixty percent of girls who were bullied were bullied only by boys, while another fifteen to twenty percent were bullied by both boys and girls. Tendencies of girls include using social means to bully others such as gossiping about others as well as manipulating friendships. Girls socialize differently than boys do, which includes verbal bonding by telling stories, hopes, and dreams. Girls can be quietly vicious to one another and their behaviors might not be as obvious when they are bullying others. This is one of the reasons why it is hard to detect that girls are bullying because girls use emotional violence when they bully others. Those who are being bullied sometimes don’t speak up for themselves because they may be afraid of the consequences if they tell someone what has been happening.
            Those individuals that are targeted for bullying are usually the individuals that do not fit in, targeted because of their physical appearance, or because of their mannerisms. Often times, boys tend to bully those who are smaller than them. According to Olweus, victims of bullying do not have friends and withdraw from others.

I am going to go more in depth about bullying and cyber-bullying as well. I am going to the library to take out resources for my paper so that I can do more research not just with websites but with journal articles and books as well. I found Dan Olweus as a great source and I am going to research more about his works on bullying. 

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