Bullying at Schools: How to Deal with It?
‘Bullying’ is not a strange word now. Everywhere, children are facing bullying. Majority of the students in the world are facing bullying from school, from home or through online.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has a potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as threatening, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group with purpose.
Bullying in schools
It’s a type of bullying that takes place in an educational institution and it can be physical, sexual, verbal or emotional nature.
Main characteristics of bullying at school
- It is deliberate and with an intention to harm; not accidental.
- It may cause psychological, social or physical trauma in varying degrees to the victims.
- It has a potential to happen again and again; it is persistent.
- It is motivated by the perceived benefits of their aggressive behavior.
Types of bullying that happens to students
Physical bullying: Any unwanted physical contact between the bully and the victim. It can be identified easily.
Examples: punching , pushing, kicking, tickling , inappropriate touching, fighting or using any object as weapon.
Emotional bullying: It won’t harm the body but the mind. It causes damage to the psyche or happy mood.
- Spreading rumors
- Keeping someone out of the group
- Avoiding or ignoring someone purposefully
- Making fun of others
Verbal bullying: It includes any statements or accusations that cause distress to someone.
- Using foul language at someone
- Using derogatory remarks or terms about a person
- Making negative comment on the person’s appearance
- Mocking, teasing, belittling etc.
Cyber bullying: It is the most threatening type of bullying and difficult to find out.
“ Cyber bullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipments such as cell phone, computers and tablets as well as communication tools including social media, text messages, chats and websites.”
How is Cyber bullying different?
- It can happen at any time and anywhere.
- Messages or images can be sent anonymously
- It threatens the victim about publishing pictures or messages to a wide audience. It is very difficult to find out the source unless we inform the authority.
- Once the bully deletes the message, it is difficult to catch them.
Sexual bullying: it is also a very dangerous type of bullying that happens to school going children. Sexual bullying is “any behavior, whether physical or non physical that is based on a person’s sexuality or gender.”
It is commonly directed at girls but boys are also not spared from this nowadays. It is very difficult to detect this kind of bullying because of ignorance and fear about the threats from the bullies.
Power imbalance : a main cause of bullying at schools
Power imbalance is always there behind every bullying. The bully might have supremacy over the victim with size, gender, age or colour. Children find motivation to bully others in their weakness like not fitting in, physical weakness, short temper, who their friends are, overweight, facial appearance, the clothes they wear,academic status etc.
Students who bully others usually have an unpleasant atmosphere at home. The suffocation that they feel at home and the attempts to make them over disciplined will make them more violent. A bully is often someone who was bullied in the past or has witnessed bullying.
Role of children in bullying
Children have different roles in bullying:
- Children who bully others
- Children who are bullied
- Children who witness bullying
- Children who assist or support bullying
- Outsiders who just watch bullying
- Children who defend
How to identify the victims if they are unspoken?
There will be drastic change in the behavior of the child if he/she is bullied. Some of the following symptoms can be noticed:
• Change in eating habits
• Declining grades
• Self injury
• Sitting alone
How to deal with it?
• Talk about bullying. The parents and teachers must be very friendly to them. Their talks should enable them to identify the situations of such harassments
• Talk to them about ‘what is bullying?’ and ‘how to escape from it?’ Make them understand it is not acceptable. Make sure that they know how to get help
• Always listen to them, know their friends, activities and interests
• Promote them to follow what their mind says
• Be a role model for your kids
• If any of the signs are visible in your kids, inform teachers about it using Parent portal. The teachers also can do the same so that they can give more attention
Prevention at Schools
• Find out bullying in schools and take necessary disciplinary actions against it.
• Create rules to report bullying.
• Choose a good School app with which the parents and teachers can trace the bullies
• Build a safe environment.
• Arrange supervising cameras if necessary
• Find out those who are bullied and bring back as normal students by counseling etc.
It is best if we can find out bullying at the earlier stage and find a solution to it. If we can create a safe surrounding where bullying won’t occur, it is far recommended than finding a remedy.