Verbal bullying is one of the more popular forms of bullying. Verbal bullying can represent many forms: name calling, threats, taunts, and ostracism. Verbal bullying affects people in many ways, such as low self-esteem, self-image, and can also lead to depression. There are a many myths about bullying that people need to be aware of. One myth is that being bullied is a natural part of growing up (Graham, 2010). Although most children may go through some form of bullying during childhood, the misconception is that it is normal, and it builds character. Research shows that bullying experiences may increase the weaknesses of children, instead of making them stronger. Bullying statistics (2010) revealed that bullying is a crime that will not be eradicated instantly. There are about 160,000 children in the United States that miss school every day out of fear of being bullied.
Another form of bullying is Physical bullying. Physical bullying consists of kicking, pushing, hitting, intimidating behavior or interference with personal property or belongings. This type of bullying often takes place at school. Many students attending public schools exhibit discipline problems such as disruptive classroom behavior, vandalism, bullying and violence (Luiselli, Putnam, Handler, & Feinberg, 2005). Teachers are usually the first line of defense for students being bullied at school, although most of the bullying is done out of the presence of an adult. Smokowski and Kopasz (2005) reviewed literature on bullying and interventions and concluded, “Bullying is a serious threat not only to those involved, but also to the entire school environment” (p.108). They also found that, “Bullying creates short- and long-term consequences for both the victim and the bully. Victims may suffer from low self-esteem, loneliness, depression, anxiety, absenteeism, and academic difficulties.”
Cyber Bullying is also a type of bullying that is taking place more often in schools. Cyber bullying is a form of bullying using technology. It is abuse online or via text message. Cyber-bullying, while being similar in its intent to hurt others through power and control, is different due to the use of these new technologies. Nowadays, kids are always connected or wired, and communicate in ways that are often unknown by adults and away from their supervision. This can make it hard for parents and school administrators to both under- stand the nature of the problem and do something about it. (Kieth & Martin, 2005). Children who often deal with bullying situations whether it is physical, verbal or cyber bullying can take a toll on an individual’s mental capacity during school. The ability to think and concentrate on schoolwork and worry about if you are going to be safe during and after school takes president. Now that cyber bullying is becoming more popular than any other form of bullying, just adds more stress and anxiety to a child or individual that is a victim of bullying. Given the revolutionary increase in Internet use of 12- to 17-year-old youth within the past 5-6 years and the lack of adult supervision online, there are many reasons to be concerned that cyberspace provides a fertile ground for bullying (Juvonen & Gross, 2008).
Bullying has attracted so much attention over the years that most states and school districts have implemented some sort of bullying prevention program to help assist students who are being bullied or feel that they are being bullied. Bullying is widespread and perhaps the most underreported safety problem on American school campuses. Contrary to popular belief, bullying occurs more often at school than on the way to and from there (Sampson, 2010). Research shows that bullying in school can affect a student’s social and emotional wellbeing and academic progress. Since the late 1900s we have learned that schools are not necessarily safe havens for learning and achievement but institutions where substantial number of students are worried about getting beat up or harassed by their peers (Juvonen, Wang, & Espinoza, 2010). In order for students to succeed in school, they must feel safe. When students do not feel safe, learning will not take place. When this happens, there is a sense of unhappiness and depression that students may feel as a result of bullying. Students who are faced with long-term bullying may tend to feel more depressed when compared to adults (Bilgic & Yurtal, 2009). There are a number of possible reasons why schools might differ in the amount of bullying that takes place within the school. These include factors such as the size of the school, the social or ethnic backgrounds of the children who attend the school and the attitudes and efforts of the teachers in addressing issues related to behavior (Lee, Buckthorpe, Craighead, & McCormack, 2008). It is all stakeholders’ jobs to make sure that all students are in a safe learning environment. The teacher’s job is to ensure that students are safe in the classroom so that learning can occur. Teaching students use to be the most important issue in education however, bullying has become more important because teachers are not able to teach effectively when students are being bullied. Research from a number of fields suggests that several variables conspire to create environments where bullying is more likely to occur. These include harsh and punitive discipline methods, lower-quality classroom instruction, disorganized classroom and school settings, and student social structures characterized by antisocial behaviors (Allen, 2010).
Bullies are usually loud and assertive, but not necessarily the largest students in the class (Beaty & Alexeyev, 2008). The bully is often known as the student who is very disruptive, outspoken, and much more aggressive than the other students in the class. They are usually the students who are popular but unlikable. Children who bully do not necessarily have more friends than other students, they usually have different friends. Bullies are students who seek to conquer control over students who appear to be weak, smaller, and timid. There is much research to be learned about bullying. However, there is some research that seems to indicate that bullying and bullying situations could be related to social attitudes making their way into a school setting. Bullies tend to hold a negative view of themselves, suggesting they pick on others to feel better about themselves, and they may especially single out those who have trouble fitting in for other reasons (Rettner, 2010). People who bully are usually people searching for attention in all the wrong ways. Most people who bully like to perform for an audience. This is where they get their attention needs met. This need for attention that bullies have is similar to Maslow’s third level of Hierarachy of Needs. Social needs are Maslow’s third level of needs. This need includes affection, love, and belonging. The bully however, has not mastered this level of need. Often, bullies are people who are not loved, show no affection, and have no sense of belonging. When this level of need is not met or mastered, serious problems could arise from situations dealing with children who are facing these unwanted feelings. On the back end of this, people become victims of these unwanted feelings. Children, who usually get involved in bullying, participate in many roles of bullying. They are sometimes the bully, victim, bystander, and many times all three.
The victim, who is also known as one of the key players in the role of bullying is also the target in a bullying situation or activity. All children can be victims of bullying but there are some children more than others who are likely to be victimized by bullies. Most victims of bullying are children who are insecure. These children are children who are insecure even before bullying takes place. In fact, some researchers believe that a child’s lack of assertiveness and security may serve as a cue to bullies that the child is a perfect victim (Fraser-Thill, 2011). Victims also appear to be individuals who are weaker. These children are children who are skinny, short, less muscular, and not good at sports. Bullies usually look for other children with the characteristics mentioned above to bully. Although the bully is the person or child doing the bullying, he or she is the popular one. Most victims of bullying tend to have less friends that the bully. These types of children are often rejected by friends because they are known to be weak. These children are children who usually eat alone during lunch, sit alone during class activities, and play by themselves during recess. When bullying is ignored or downplayed, students suffer ongoing torment and harassment. It can cause lifelong damage to both victims and those who bully (Beaty & Alexeyev, 2008).
Bullying also affect those students’ who are not involved in the bullying but witnesses the interaction (bystanders) because it can create a school culture where bullying is accepted and students feel powerless to stop bullying (Hamarus & Kaikkonen, 2008). Bystanders are an invaluable source of information about school bullying. Anti-bullying efforts to deliver justice are hampered if bystanders remain reluctant to discourage bullying; but given that bystanders who intervene to prevent bullying may risk retaliation, why would they do so (Ahmed, 2008)? Usually in a bullying situation, there are more than two people involved. The bully, victim, and the bystander in most cases are included when bullying episodes are taking place. The bystander is usually the witness who can participate by remaining silent, not intervening on either side, or coming forward to try and put a stop to the bullying. Being a bystander while bullying is taking place is also a huge problem. Most bystanders stand by and watch violent acts of bullying without intervening. Oh and Hazler (2009) defines bystander as people who are present and witness school bullying situations was used in the current study, therefore bystanders behaviors may vary from intervening in support of victims, remaining uninvolved or supporting perpetrators’ harassment. Unfortunately, many bystanders believe victims of harassment are responsible for their plight and bring problems on themselves (Graham, 2005). Most bystanders (e.g. outsiders) are less likely to intervene or defend victims due to a fear of revenge and uncertainty about the intervention (Oh & Hazler, 2009). Sometimes this happens because students are not educated about bullying and how to change a negative bullying situation into a positive one. The bystander plays a vital role in bullying. This person can either make or break the situation at hand. In order for a bystander to fully intervene in a bullying situation, he or she must know what to do and how to handle bullying situations.
Bullying and Academics
Academic achievement and school adjustment have been employed interchangeably within research studies which is potentially problematic as both place different emphasis on aspects of children’s academic school life (Woods & Wolke, 2004). Although there is a plethora of research on bullying, there is not a lacuna of research on the affect that bullying has on academic achievement. Children’s academic functioning is a major component in schools worldwide. This is one of the areas of bullying that researchers are continuing to conduct research. Children should be able to learn in a safe and orderly learning environment. School bullying has always had a negative effect on school, the victim, and the bully. Children who are being bullied are very reluctant to tell the teacher or an adult that they are being bullied. When adolescents avoid approaching their teachers for help with peers they may not do so for help with schoolwork. As a result, unless the adolescent asks for help, the teacher may be unaware of the victimization and not provide the needed support (Beran, 2009). It is hard for children to believe in themselves without support from their peers and teachers. Children who usually experience some type of positive support form their teacher or peers seem to function a little better from those students who do not feel supported by their teacher or peers. Bullying has many affects on academics. Students who are often bullied tend not to come to school, which affects their attendance, in return, also leads to students missing out on learning. Considering that school learning occurs in a social context where students are at risk of being victimized by their peers, it is likely that academic performance is negatively affected (Beran, 2009). Little research explores why bullying others is associated with poor academic competence (Ma, Phelps, Lerner, & Lerner, 2009). Academic competence and performance is the planned future for youth. Without an education, predictions can be made about our youth dropping out of school, lack of job opportunities, and a lack of future family stability. Adolescence that are being bullied or victims of bullying can easily fall into the categories mentioned above if schools do not implement a bullying program or strategies to address the many acts of bullying that are taking place in schools every day. Nevertheless, there are many bullies who are high academic achievers. Although achieving high academics may not be the problem for some bullies, they still have other issues that may cause them to behave in a manner such as bullying. However, little is known about why some youth can achieve academic competence despite being bullied (Ma, Phelps, Lerner, & Lerner, 2009). Bullying situations can have different outcomes and effects on students. Students who have been bullied don’t all experience the same results. Some students who have been bullied may still achieve academic success. There are some students who have been bullied that may struggle to achieve academic success. There are several factors that can promote academic competence especially with at risk youth. These factors include parental involvement, positive parent and child relationships, and teacher support. If parents, teachers, and children develop positive relationships, this would help the parents to become more involved in their child’s education and know what’s going on in their school. Children will be more acceptable to sharing if they have been going through any type of bullying situations or conflicts at school.