Types and Possible Effects of Bullying
Types of Bullying
Possible Effects of Bullying
Resolving the Issue
Conclusion and Future Study
Bullying has been around for a very long time. Methods that have been used to bully have remained constant through time. Be that as it may, a new form of bullying has arisen. This form involves the media and is labeled as cyberbullying. This essay discusses the two different styles to bullying, which are, traditional bullying, and cyberbullying. After that has been discussed, the focus of the essay will shift to the effects that bullying has brought upon youth. The main concern for the issue of bullying is that some may be committing suicide because of the endless torment. This essay discusses both sides to bullying, which are, the victim, and the bully. This is for comparing and contrasting the reasoning behind each of their reactions to their situations. Many examples of bully-related suicides will be explored and discussed. Opinions on what can be done; will be shared by both specialists, such as a psychiatrist, and certain members of the general population. This will ensure both a professional’s opinion, as well as the opinions of normal citizens can be shared and reasoned. Suicide due to bullying is a problem, but not an epidemic. Youth need to be aware of how to deal with bullies, and that there is always hope. There are many organizations in the world that deal with these sorts of issues, and look to helping those who are in need of aid.
Types and Possible Effects of Bullying
Bullying is a constant concern amongst schools. Although bullying is so common, according to the Metro West Health survey done in 2012, bullying at American schools is down from twenty-eight percent in 2010 to twenty-three percent in 2012 (MetroWest Health Foundation, 2013). Bullying is recognized as a major public concern in the western world (Klomek, Sourander, & Gould, 2011). Canada and the United States, as well as the rest of the world, are genuinely concerned for its youth and their overall well-being.
Types of Bullying
A survey done in the United Kingdom revealed that ten percent of pupils report to being bullied sometimes, and four percent report to being bullied at least once a week (Salmon, James, & Smith, 1998). This was the result of a survey that consisted of 904 pupils, aged twelve through seventeen. The students were asked to fill out four questionnaires. These questionnaires, such as the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire, as well as three others, were used to determine the mental state at which these students were in. Salmon and his team carried out this study and deduced that traditional bullying was more prevalent amongst boys.
Why do some people get bullied? Through research, several possible reasons have emerged as to why a person might be bullied. One factor of why a person may fall victim to being bullied is their inability to pick up on and respond to nonverbal cues from their peers (Nixon, 2010). This means that a student doesn’t recognize a signal that a person gives them, in a class when they shouldn’t be talking for example. Another reason as to why a person may be bullied is that they are just simply different (Riggio, 2013). They could be different by being gay, or lesbian, or even disabled mentally, or physically. A third possible reason is if a person is competent. Bullies often label these people as “nerds” or “teachers pets” (Riggio, 2013). An additional possible reason is that a person is defined as being “nice.” Bullies often pick on people who they feel won’t fight back due to them being “nice.” The last possible reason, that research has found, is if a person does not display leadership and is not a leader. Generally, those that aren’t leaders don’t have what it takes to stand up for themselves and take action. As a result, they fall victim to being bullied. In the United States, ten to thirteen percent of school-aged kids experience some form of rejection by their peers (Nixon, 2010). Richard Lavoie emphasizes the fact that “The number one need of any human is to be liked by other humans” (Nixon, 2010). As people, we are all trying to fit in and be accepted. Some may try originality and as a result, fall victim to being bullied.
There are two methods that bullies use to inflict pain on their victims. One is the normal, old school bullying method, and the other is referred to as cyberbullying. Hinduja and Patchin (2010) referred to cyberbullying as the “nontraditional” form of peer aggression. For purposes in simpler comparison of the two, the normal bullying style will be referred to as traditional bullying throughout this essay.
Traditional bullying has been around for a very long time; it has generally always been around. This type of bullying principally takes place in a school setting. Another term used to describe bullying, is peer victimization. Peer victimization is the experience that one receives due to the being a target of the aggressive behaviour of others (Klomek, Marrocco, Kleinman, Schonfeld, & Gould, 2008). According to Klomek et al.’s research, they came to the conclusion that suggested of two different styles used in the traditional bullying of a person. These styles are labelled as, direct victimization, and indirect victimization.
Direct victimization, as Klomek describes, is the use of diverse physical and verbal treatment of bullies to their victims. Physical abuse would be kicking, hitting, stealing, and playing nasty tricks; whereas, verbal abuse would be threatening, name calling, insulting, spreading rumours, as well as blackmailing.
Indirect victimization is the use of aggression that is enacted through third parties. The use of social isolation is common in this style of victimization. Social isolation is the result of ignoring, excluding, and gossiping about a person. Behaviours that cause or threaten peer relationships such as friendships and acceptance of others are also included in this style of victimization.
The traditional form of bullying is mainly found in schools because youth are, for the most part, immature. Also, it is very easy to pick on a person due to the fact that there are a lot of youth that attend schools. In some cases, a student has been victim to multiple bullies. Rebecca Sedwick, was bullied by at least fifteen girls (Bancroft, 2013). A man initially bullied a girl named Amanda Todd online, but the bullying eventually spread to her school (Haven, 2012). There, multiple peers bullied her.
An example of the use of traditional bullying in schools is of a fifteen-year-old boy named Bart Palosz. As reported in the New York Daily News in September of 2013, Bart underwent years of bullying (Golgowski, 2013). Classmates would shove him into bushes as he walked to school. In eighth grade, he was sent to the emergency room for stitches after a bully bashed his head into a metal locker. Bart was socially isolated; he sat alone during lunchtime. Also, in his freshman biology class, his phone was taken by a classmate and was smashed on the ground (Golgowski, 2013).
The physical abuse implicated by bullies can be quite serious. Bart Palosz was sent to the hospital after what a bully did (Golgowski, 2013). Another example would be a girl named Gabrielle Molina, who had been tormented by schoolyard bullies for months, as reported by the New York Daily News (Stepansky, Chinese, Tracy, Chapman, & Otis, 2013). She got into a fistfight with another girl, which was filmed and posted to YouTube. She was also abused verbally through being called a slut and a whore. The Los Angeles Times reported of a boy named, Jordan Lewis, as another victim of being bullied (Hamilton, 2013). Jordan was pushed into lockers, and was hit at least once in the head by a football teammate.
In the same way that traditional bullying victimizes youth, cyberbullying has now become a very common method of victimization. As Lenhert asserts, “Bullying has entered the digital age. The impulses behind it are the same, but the effect is magnified” (Lenhert, 2007). This means that it is just now that this form of victimization is being used. This also means that the effects in this type are much worse. A study done by Hinduja and Patchin (2010), define the term cyberbullying as “Willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” They overemphasize the words “willful,” “repeated,” and “harmful.” The behaviour has to be intentional, not accidental. The behaviour also has to reflect a pattern of bullying, not just isolated incidents. Finally, the target must perceive that harm was inflicted upon them. Causing harm can be seen in both physical, and mental aspects. Ultimately, it is only through the use of all of these characteristics can events be labelled as bullying.
The method of cyberbullying has come about due to the ever-growing field that is technology. New technology is constantly being invented. In recent years, technology has greatly expanded with almost everyone using some form of it. This rise in technology has brought some new ways of living. Youth today live a very different lifestyle than youth did thirty years ago. A new technology that is widely being used by both youth and adults is social media. Sterling (2013) reported that ninety-four percent of teens in the United States use some form of social networking site. Of this ninety-four percent of teens, sixty-seven percent use social media daily, and twenty-one percent only use it weekly (Sterling, 2013).
A study led by Lehnhert used 935 teens in the United States, ages twelve to seventeen years old, to answer a few questions on their thoughts of cyberbullying and how prevalent it is (Lenhert, 2007). The results of this study presented that one in three teens have experienced some form of online harassment. Also, the study reports that girls are more likely to be victim to cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying includes activities such as receiving threatening messages, having their private emails or text messages forwarded without consent, having an embarrassing picture posted without permission, or having rumours about them spread online (Lenhert, 2007). Other activities include stalking, ignoring, or disrespecting (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010).
Lenhert emphasizes that teens that share their identities and thoughts online are more likely to be targets than those who lead “less active online lives” (Lenhert, 2007). This demonstrates that those who are less open about themselves online won’t have very much information on the internet for people to see and use against them. In Lenhert’s study, the results of the youth’s answers showed that one in six teens (15%) said that someone had forwarded or posted communication that they assumed was private. Thirteen percent of teens said that someone had spread a rumour about him or her online. Thirteen percent said that someone had sent them a threatening or aggressive email, IM (Instant Message), or text message. Finally, six percent said that someone had posted an embarrassing picture of them without their permission. Through this may it be seen that cyberbullying is a common practice and issue.
Why is it so easy for a person to bully someone online? Hinduja and Patchin (2010) observed and identified several reasons as to why cyberbullying is so prevalent. First of all, the permanence of computer-based messages is a factor. On social networking sites, the site usually keeps saves of what is sent and received. What goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. Another factor is the ease and freedom with which hurtful, embarrassing, or threatening statements can be made. Thirdly, it is difficult to detect the misbehaviour, identify the offending party, prove or verify the wrongdoing, and impose a meaningful sanction or penalty. Back to Lenhert’s study, she believes that it is the unmediated nature of the communication that contributes to cyberbullying. As a result, isolates teens from the consequences of their actions (Lenhert, 2007). Lastly, the wide use of computers and cellphones and the “always connected” lives that youth now lead has brought on the victimization beyond the playground, school, and neighborhood (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010).
As mentioned earlier, Amanda Todd fell victim to the torments of bullies (NG, 2012). In a video that she created, she described how she used webcam chats to meet and talk to new people online (Haven, 2012). She told of a man online who pressured her to flash her chest in front of the camera. After a year of convincing, she finally did it. When she did so, the man took a picture of her chest. Amanda said in the video that the man sent the photo to everyone that she knew, even after moving towns and schools multiple times (NG, 2012). School life became hard, she describes how she would be called names, eat alone, and get beat up. In the video, she said, “I can never get that photo back. It’s out there forever” (Haven, 2012). The Internet can be very dangerous in this way.
The fact of the matter is that cyberbullying is just so easy and available. It’s so simple to share a picture, or some sort of message. All a person has to do is to click send, and it is out there for the world to see. Using the process in determining if events are labelled as bullying, the man that caused Amanda Todd so much pain can be labelled as a bully. He didn’t do it by accident, he purposely sent out the picture to each school that she went to, and it did cause her harm. He was a cyberbully. “Cyberbullying, coupled with other malicious behaviors online or offline, can create a very unfriendly and frustrating environment” (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010).
These two methods of bullying can be very frustrating and very unpleasant. In either style, the result is always the same, misery. Both traditional bullying and cyberbullying prove to be used frequently amongst youth and, as the next section will discuss, has effects on the youth.
Possible Effects of Bullying
As the previous section discusses the types of bullying being used among youth, this section will discuss the possible effects of such harassment, focusing mainly on whether it is a main contributor to suicide or not. Bullying is a problem due to the effects that are being brought upon the victims.
The main question for the first part of this section is, what are some possible effects of bullying? Nixon (2010) suggests that kids who get bullied are more likely to have problems in other parts of their lives. This could mean that they may be socially awkward, or have self-esteem issues. Victims of bullying exhibit more depressive symptoms than non-victims (Klomek et al., 2011). This indicates that of those people that are bullied, they generally suffer from depression more than those who aren’t bullied. One study found that children, who were bullied, were more likely to wet beds, have trouble sleeping, and have headaches or abdominal pains (Kaltiala-Heino, Marttunen, Rimpelä, Rimpelä, & Rantanen, 1999). These are just some of the effects that bullying might have on a person.
A study done in the United States reported that in 2012, twenty percent, of the forty thousand students surveyed, reported depressive symptoms (MetroWest Health Foundation, 2013). This is just a general percentage that involves bullying, but also the other reasons as to why a person might suffer from depression. Some major effects of continual bullying are anxiety and depression. Eleven percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by the age of eighteen (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], n.d.(b)). Also, girls are more likely than boys to experience depressive disorders, according to the NIMH.
Many people who are depressed don’t seek out proper diagnosis and treatment. Depression, without proper treatment, leaves teens at a higher risk for suicide (Heller, 2012). Children who are depressed may complain of feeling sick, refuse to go to school, have nightmares, or cling to a parent (NIMH, n.d.(b)). Other signs of depression are the loss of interest or pleasure in activities, loss of appetite or overeating, sleeping a lot or not being able to sleep, loss of energy, loss of self-esteem, indecisiveness, hopelessness, problems with concentration, and suicidal thoughts and attempts (Heller, 2012). One cause of youth depression may be that there is contention in the home.
Another effect may be brought upon youth through bulling is anxiety. A study of sixty thousand youth found that anxiety disorders affect twenty-five percent of all teens and thirty percent of all teen girls (Elements Behavioral Health, n.d.). Anxiety includes panic attacks, the avoidance of social situations, seeming anxious even when there is no reason to be. In addition to causing mental health problems, researchers report that bullying and social isolation can increase the likelihood a child will get poor grades, drop out of school, or develop substance abuse problems (Nixon, 2010).
Discussed above are only some of the possible effects of bullying, the next part of the section will also be a possible effect of bullying. Focus will now be put on to suicide due to bullying, and whether bullying is a main factor in the suicide of youth or not. Victims of bullying have higher levels of suicidal ideation and are more likely to attempt suicide than non-victims (Klomek et al., 2011). This means that according to Klomek’s study, they found that bully-victims show higher levels of suicidal ideation than those who aren’t bullied.
Suicidal ideation is a term used for thoughts about, or an unusual preoccupation with suicide. Suicidal ideation can vary from a short thought, to detailed planning, to roleplaying, and to unsuccessful attempts. “The teenage years of a person are an especially vulnerable time” (Pittman, 2013). One in eight teens has actively thought about suicide. Furthermore, one in twenty-five teens actually attempt suicide (Pittman, 2013). These facts express great concern to parents and schools.
A study examined the extent to which cyberbullying is related to suicidal ideation (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010). They formally used the term, “Cyberbullicide,” to describe suicide directly or indirectly influenced by experiences of online aggression. Hinduja and Patchin (2010), through their studies, believe that it is unlikely that experiences with cyberbullying alone leads to youth suicide. This would mean that there are other factors involved besides just being bullied. Anet Klomek reports that only frequent victimization through cyberbullying was associated with suicidal ideation (Klomek et al., 2011). Suicidal ideation only occurs in girls if they are consistently being bullied through the use of technology. In boys however, both frequent and infrequent victimization was associated with suicidal ideation. Contrary to these studies, Kaltiala-Heino et al. (1999) found that severe suicidal ideation was increased among those who were bullied regardless of whether they were depressed or not.