Google defines bullying as: ‘seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)’.
Regardless of age, gender, or race, the constant physical, verbal, and cyber harm from bullying can lead to negative psychological effects that can last for the rest of the individual’s life.
Being different can cause bullying in a society that is obsessed with achieving specific trends perpetuated by social media. In order to control others, oppressors primarily focus on those with different appearances, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disabilities. Bullies, however, operate on several levels. The behaviours of bullies are terrible and toxic, but understanding the reasons for these impulses in certain people, as opposed to others, is the first step to positively improving society.
Bullying consists of repeatedly and deliberately injuring and humiliating those who are smaller, weaker, younger, or more vulnerable than the bully. By targeting those of less power, bullying is distinguished from garden-variety aggression.
Bullying is characterized by verbal attacks, such as making fun of individuals, threatening them, or intimidating them repeatedly. This includes excluding and ignoring a person purposefully.
Studies indicate that bullying peaks around the ages of 11 to 13 and decrease with age. Younger children exhibit physical aggressions such as kicking, hitting, and shoving more frequently; older children are more likely to exhibit relational aggression, such as spreading rumours and social exclusion. In this technology-infused society, cyberbullying has become more prevalent. Among 9–12-year-olds, 49.8% said they had been bullied offline, and 14.5% online. Among the types of cyberbullying students faced, 25% mentioned malicious comments, and 22% mentioned spreading rumours online.
Since the pandemic has pushed students into virtual classrooms and online study, the percentages of these figures may have shifted slightly, since most students now use their technological devices to communicate with their friends and fellow classmates, such as laptops, iPads, and smartphones. During an unprecedented period of uncertainty, online exchanges can be encouraging and reassuring; however, they can also spread harmful content.
There is a higher likelihood that students who face bullying will suffer negative health effects, such as stomachaches and headaches. Cyberbullying can negatively impact students’ physical health, relationships, and schoolwork. To prevent or reduce the impact of bullying, it is essential to utilize new technologies to uncover the reasons why bullies act in certain ways.
Bullying Behaviour – Clinical Perspective
American Psychiatric Association (APA) published that two common disorders that bullies under 18 may be suffering from: Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD).
Oppositional Defiance Disorder
ODD is a disordered behavioral pattern in children. Children with this disorder often exhibit angry, irritable, and vindictive moods. They are prone to misbehavior, especially towards other children. These children are argumentative, easily annoyed, and resentful of authority figures.
The ability to identify this disorder in children is often characterised by the unfriendly nature of the individual, causing trouble, teasing, or bullying others verbally or physically.
Conduct Disorder is characterised as anti-social behaviours. Children with Oppositional Defiance Disorder are usually getting suspended from school, but the children with Conduct Disorder may usually be in trouble with the law! It is important to note that Anti-Social Personality Disorder is seen in most serial killers.
Much scrutiny is raised on these, as children are not fully developed enough to be diagnosed with a personality disorder, as there are different factors that can still come into play in moulding the child into an adult.
Other Personality Disorders
Other personality disorders, especially in adults which may contribute to are Personality Disorder (NPD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Personality Disorder (NPD)
Personality Disorder (NPD) is a pattern of behaviour that causes people to have an over-inflated sense of self-importance or worth.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), is a disorder characterized by extreme, inappropriate anger and a pattern of unstable relationships.
How to Respond to Bullying Behaviour:
Remove yourself from their presence so that no more abuse occurs
Stopping the behaviour from occurring
Reporting the behaviour is the part where we stop the behaviour
Healing from the damage caused by the behaviour
It is important to talk to other people about what happened, that way you can receive reassurances, which will make you feel better
- The community can recognise bullying and can work together to prevent it
- Anti-bullying policies can be tailored depending on the school and community
- Children and young people will be able to work together and communicate with adults who can bring change
Skills developed through PSHE can lead to an increase in a range of protective behaviours, such as the ability to resist peer and social pressure and the assessment and avoidance of risky situations.
Increase in healthy eating contributes significantly to a happier and healthier child or young person
Physical activity and wellbeing are well established and includes decreases in depression and stress, positive self-concept, and positive self-esteem
Emotional wellbeing will improve as children and young people are encouraged to develop the skills associated with empathy.
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