Bullying in Schools and its Preventive Strategies
Bullying is a global issue that most countries identify with. The prevalence of bullying in many countries shows that a higher percentage of children are exposed to bullying at some stage in their life. They may act as witnesses or victims of bullying, or they may be the bullies. This aggressive behavior leads to physical and psychological harm in the victims. This is raising concerns as episodes of bullying today are on the increase. This paper will focus on the causes of bullying, gender differences in bullying, and the preventive measures for bullying.
Causes of bullying vary, but mainly include environmental and social factors. Environmental factors include media influence. Most children watch a lot of physical violence in the media. This influences them in different ways. While some will not be affected, others will be influenced by this. Such influence manifests as a behavioral change. These children will imitate what they see, and practice it on their friends at school. With time, this becomes a habit and so they become real bullies.
Social factors include dysfunctional families. Most bullies have problems related to family or parents. If a child has good relations with their families, they are less likely to bully others. Bullies repeat what they experience in their homes. One of their parents may be a victim of bullying, or these children themselves may be victims of bullying from their older siblings.
Peer influence causes bullying, as most incidences of bullying take place among peer groups. According to Jimerson, bystanders in bullying are likely to condone and cheer such behavior, instead of intervening (75). In turn, they may be influenced by this, and engage in bullying too. Children who are not given attention at home may bully to seek attention. Others engage in bullying to satisfy their desire for control. Such live in unlikely family situations, and may bully others to feel control over their lives. Older youth who are gang members are socialized to be aggressive, and so, bullying becomes part of their culture.
Bullying varies with age and gender. Increase in age leads to a decrease in bullying, as age comes with development of social skills, which guard against bullying. However, when pupils transition to secondary schools, an increase in bullying is observed. Boys are aggressive and so involve themselves in direct bullying compared to girls. Most girls are less aggressive, so do not indulge in this aggressive behavior.
For bullying to stop in schools, parents should change their parenting. Physical punishment must be avoided, as bullies believe that physical violence solves problems. Parents should lead by example by ensuring harmony, and no fights at home. At school level, counseling programs should be implemented. Open discussions on this topic with students, teachers, peer educators, and counselors may raise awareness on the evils of bullying. Fight against bullying should involve the teachers, students, and parents. Teachers and parents must exercise their authority by setting up rules and disciplinary measures for bullying, and ensure maximum supervision at home and school to reduce and prevent further bullying.
In conclusion, bullying is a vice in society. However, just like other vices, it can be prevented. There are different factors that cause bullying, including media influence and peer pressure. In developing preventive strategies for bullying, these causal factors must be considered. We all have a collective responsibility in stopping bullying. However, there are no quick fixes for this, but with time, while employing the preventive strategies, the state of bullying in our society will experience positive change.
Jimerson, Shane. “International Handbook of Bullying.” Taylor and Francis, New York. 2010. N
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