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Bullying in Schools, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Abstract

With respect to a social context, bullying refers to the abuse of power in relating to other members of the society. In essence, this act involves the use of force or coercion directed towards intimidating other members of any given society. Bullying takes various forms of manifestations like physical harassment, assault, emotional intimidation, and coercion through threats. With respect to the academic discipline of sociology, bullying is one of the activities rampant within modern social setting like learning institutions. In this context, sociology employs numerous methods meant to facilitate acquisition of information regarding the depth and breadth of bullying in societies (Jianghong & Nicola, 2011). In efforts to acquire this knowledge, social studies focus on executing both empirical and research based exercises. Members of any given society perceive bullying as improper and disadvantageous towards the victims. In this context, studies commit selfless efforts in supplementing detailed information regarding this negative act of aggression. The accumulated body of knowledge will prove resourceful during formulation of recommendations and intervention measures against bullying. This will serve the purpose of addressing physical or emotional intimidations within their various context s of application.

Introduction

School bullying is one illustrational context where varying degrees of aggression in the society manifests itself. Recent studies acknowledge that there is a significant increase in bullying incidences across learning institutions in the US. School bullying are acts of aggression or intimidation practiced within lower learning institutions like elementary levels and high school levels. With respect to the actual time of happening, this type of bullying takes place during the time when a minor is in school (Jianghong & Nicola, 2011). It takes the ideal forms of physical, emotional or verbal abuse of force. In the context of physical abuses, school bullying entails intimidating contact between the victim and the bully. They may include actions like punching, kicking and any other direct physical contact. Emotional bullying incorporate elements directed towards causing discomfort or damage to a victims psychological well-being. Emotional bullying takes forms like making fun of others, ignoring other students on purpose and sidelining other students out of a group, among other emotionally intimidating acts. Verbal bullying entails use of derogatory or slanderous statements meant to elicit emotional distress on the victim. It takes forms like negative comments about a victim student, direct profanity towards the victim and use of derogatory language when addressing at a target (Alessio, Gianluca & Massmo, 2010).

Apart from these three categories, cyber-bullying is another fast emerging form of bullying in American schools. This type of bullying involves applying intimidating actions towards target victims with technology (Shari, Lydia, Ann & Robert, 2012). Some secondary studies indicate that there is a significant increase in possession of technological devices by students today. In this case, bullies have changed their strategies to technological contact with their target victims. It adopts communication channels like abuse through mails, instant messages and social networks (Shari et al, 2012). The last major form of bulling is sexual bullying. This type employs both physical and non-physical means of instilling intimidation to victims based on the element of sexual orientation or gender. It manifests when those propagating the act uses sexuality or gender as a weapon towards the victims. A common context entails physical or non-physical abuses by boys directed to girls.

Effects of Bullying

All these forms of abuse result in negative effects to both the bullies and the victims. Within a learning institution, these effects of bullying corrupt an individual’s social and psychological stability. Subsequently, it presents grave short and long-term effects to victims. Studies emphasizes that common short-term effects of bullying include depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety and significant drop in productivity. Long-term effects may present themselves long after the act of bullying towards a victim stopped. Such effects include a profound sense of insecurity, extreme lack of trust towards others and mental disorders like psychopathic behaviors (Jianghong & Nicola, 2011). Existence of these negative effects motivates studies directed towards providing intervention measures to school bullying. Apart from these theoretical negative effects, studies are motivated by statistics showing that about 50%-80% of school going children in the US experience at least one incidence of bullying during their studying period. These studies go further to unearth factors contributing towards bullying among students. Identified predisposing factors include social aspects like religion, gender, socio-economic class, and sexual orientations. Additional studies show that social elements like religion and gender are the main factors contributing to bullying behavior in schools. According to statistical findings from one study, 45% of bully cases results from religious intolerance among students. On the other hand, 48% of gender based bullying cases affects girls as the victims (Jianghong & Nicola, 2011). Now, it would be inherent to establish a relationship between bullying levels and the negative effects it presents to its victims. With respect to formulation of recommendations and intervention measures, researchers can conduct such exercises objectively after explicitly establishing the relationship. Therefore, this research focuses on comprehending the degree and effects of bullying on minors within a learning institution.

Bullying results from negative effects that haunt students in their study programs. Studies indicate that students experiencing substantial levels of intimidation from fellow students displayed low academic performances. In addition, these studies highlight the effect of bullying on the social and psychological well-being of students. In a recent study, students who responded as undergoing regular bullying from senior displayed poor performance based on their end term GPA index. In addition, secondary findings indicates that students experiencing constant physical and emotional abuses in school develops poor social skills like anxiety, lack of trust and insecurity (Alessio et al, 2010). Findings indicate that 67% of sampled students experiencing regular bullying in a certain research show symptoms of psychological instability. These symptoms include inability to develop and express genuine emotions, and a sense of insecurity and withdrawal from social situations.

Methodology

In this case, the research focuses on substantiating these negative effects resulting from school bullying. In order to obtain reliable and objective information, it will be appropriate to adopt some basic elements of scientific research designs. These include an appropriate research question coupled with a directional hypothesis. The question asks, does school bullying presents negative effects to students. Now, the entire research will involve acquisition of information meant to answer the stated question. With respect to the underlying question, a corresponding hypothesis states that bullying results in profound negative psychological effects to victim students. Negative psychological effects depend on the degree or frequency of bullying experiences among a student population (Shari, Lydia, Ann & Robert, 2012). Therefore, this hypothesis contains both the dependent and the independent variables. Information gathered focus on developing a relationship that exists between the dependent and the independent variable. In this case, the hypothesis is approved if the relationship turns out positive, otherwise, a negative relationship results in subsequent disapproval of the hypothesis.

With respect to scientific and social research methodologies, it would be appropriate to incorporate elements of qualitative and quantitative designs. In this case, quantitative method serves the purpose of providing quantitative statistical data meant to establish correlation between variables. On the other hand, psychological concepts like emotional stability of victims cannot receive quantitative measurements. In this case, qualitative method will facilitate incorporation of such observable qualities in the study (Shari et al, 2012). Based on the nature of study, this research will adopt descriptive and correlation research designs. This study relies on secondary information in order to substantiate the relationship between the stated variables. Secondary sources include social statistics databases, previous research articles, and periodical publications. The research supplemented three sets of data during the data collection exercise. All these sets directs towards establishing a relationship between the variables. The data collection exercise took approximately 3 hours, after which the team compiled and analyzed the obtained data for information. The information formulated from these data gave a deep insight regarding the negative effects of bullying to students in schools.

Psychological Effects

According to the obtained information, bullying presents varied psychological problems to students in their studies. In the numerous research exercises carried out, most of the sampled students had been bullied, had bullied other, or had found themselves in both receiving ends. Statistics shows that approximately, 65% of students in both middle and high school levels have experienced bullying. In addition, at least 15% undergoes constant bullying during their study period (Shari, Lydia, Ann & Robert, 2012). In middle level learning institutions, physical and verbal bullying are the most common forms of the act practiced. On the other hand, high school bullies chooses cyber-bullying and emotional bullying as the most popular channels of executing their desires. In one research conducted on a high school, 75% of the sampled population had been victims of bully at one level in their studies. These victims cited emotional harassment practices like rumormongering and provocation as the major forms of their intimidations. On the other hand, 20% of the sampled population participates in acts of bullying towards the target students. Upon acknowledging these statistics, further studies established the relationship between bully frequency and the emotional well-being of these students. Adoption of a Likert scale facilitated acquisition of information regarding emotional states of the sampled population.

On the aspect trust and insecurity, the Likert scales adopted span across five scores covering both extreme ends of the aspect measured. Scores of 1-5 measured the element of social attachment in terms of the number of close friends as {None}, {1}, {2-5}, {6-10}, {More than 10}. Based on this Likert scale, findings show that most students falling in the category receiving constant intimidation had less than five fiends. On the other hand, most students who received bullying only during their first year in high school responded to having more than five friends. These findings show that school bullying results in negative psychological effects to victims. In the context of social attachment and insecurity, students experiencing constant aggressive treatment develop a lack of trust towards other people. As a result, they will end up forming close social relationships like friendship with their fellow students (Alessio, Gianluca & Massmo, 2010). Additional information from these secondary sources highlight that other serious psychological conditions like excessive stress and depression results from more severe intimidations like physical bullying. Studies show that 35% of middle level students experiencing regular beatings from bullies developed suicidal tendencies. These tendencies manifests through the act of uncontrolled self-injury among victims. In this case, bullying presents negative psychological effects to students in school.

Effects on Academic Performance

On the aspect of academic performance, studies indicate significant difference on this quality between victims of bully and other students. In one study, 30% of middle level students responded to be experiencing an average of one physical or verbal intimidation incident in a week. A survey conducted on this population shows that 80% of the respondents undergoing regular bullying displayed poor academic performance in school. On another set of information, 55 out of 100 students sampled for a survey displayed credible academic performance during their first semester in high school. However, their performance dropped significantly by the time they graduated to the second year of their studies. Among these 55 students, 70% reported to be constant victims or harassment from senior students (Alessio, Gianluca & Massmo, 2010).

These research findings show a relationship between levels of harassment and academic performance in students. Based on the psychological concepts of cognition, students experiencing psychological instability like depression and insecurity depict decreased levels of productivity. In this case, school bullying, especially physical bullying presents varied forms of insecurity and depression among victims. In this case, victims will focus much of their energy in responding to depression and insecurity incidences. Consequently, reduction of time used in academic related activities translated into poor performance during examination (Roberts, 2011).

Effects on Life inside and Outside School

Apart from academic and emotional effects of bullying, this negative social activity extends to serious effects to an individual’s social life. In this case, psychological consequences of intimidation affect an individual’s social relations. This can be seen in the way in which bully victims relate to other members of the society. From the Likert scale adopted earlier from the secondary sources, victims of school bullying tend to make fewer friends than their normal counterparts. Apart from their relationships in a school setting, bullying affects a student’s life outside school. In this context, studies show that 60% of students receiving severe harassment in school end up developing signs of attachment disorder. From a survey study concerning attachment and bullying, data yielded a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.8. This coefficient relates to the variables of the degree of attachment and frequency of bullying. A correlation coefficient of 0.8 indicates a strong positive relationship between the variables under consideration. In this case, the positive yield shows that degree of attachment is inversely proportional to the frequency of attachment among victims (Jianghong & Nicola, 2011).

Parents and Teachers Role in Helping Victims

At this juncture, we can ascertain the fact that bullying of minors in schools results in negative social and psychological effects to the victims. Acknowledgement of this predicament calls for appropriate preventive and intervention measures from involved stakeholders (Roberts, 2011). Two immediate stakeholders in school bullying are parents and teachers. In this regard, both parents and teachers should employ substantial efforts in helping victims recover from traumatic instances. Apart from help towards victims, teachers and parents may participate in reducing bully behaviors among those senior students propagating the act. Studies show that self-esteem building activities help in addressing attachment problems. In addition, students enrolled in such activities shows decreased tendencies of developing depression as a result of bullying. Therefore, teachers and parents may address the situation by promoting the element self-esteem among students. Activities directed towards building self-esteem include games like baseball and physical sports like martial arts.

Preventive Measures

Having considered the main negative effects of bullying in schools, it would be appropriate ascertain that schools and the society in general can devise mechanism meant to prevent this social act of aggression. Studies shows that various programs implemented by students and teachers works in curbing the rise of bullying in schools. Such measures formulated by learning institutions include punishment to those propagating physical abuse to other students (Roberts, 2011). Punishments range from admonitions to suspension or even expulsion from school. On the other hand, students can help prevent bullying in schools by reporting every case of harassment, whether physical, verbal, or emotional, to the relevant offices. Now, all the research findings proved resourceful in validating the adopted hypothesis. Therefore, one can objectively state that bullying affects the social and psychological well-being of students.

Conclusion

Based on the information from secondary sources, one can substantiate that harassment and other forms of abuse in schools presents negative effects to students. In addition, appropriate intervention measures can apply in curbing the rise of school bullying in learning institutions. At this point, the findings adopt intervention measures like self-esteem building activities and teachers’ intervention as recommendations from minimizing bullying in schools.

Reference List

Roberts, E. E. (2011). Teachers’ Perceptions of Anti-bullying Interventions and the Types of Bullying each Interview Prevents. Arecls, 8 (3).  75-94.

Shari, K, S., Lydia, O., Ann, S & Robert, W. S. (2012). Cyber-bullying, School Bullying and Psychological Distress: A Regional Census of High School Students. American Journal of Public Health, 102 (1)

Jianghong, L & Nocila, G. (2011). Childhood Bullying: A Review of Constructs, Concepts and Nursing Implications. Journal of Public Health Nursing, 28 (6). 556-568

Alessio, V., Gianluca, G. & Massmo, S. (2010). Different Forms of Bullying and their Association to Smoking and Drinking Behavior in Italian Adolescents. Journal of School Health, 21 (4) 45-78.

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