Bullying Of Children And Its Sociological And Psychological Effects

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Research done by social scientist on bully victimization and its consequences has received much attention from media and policy makers in recent years, however physical bullying is one of the unlikely consequences of bullying, as it involves hurting, hitting or shoving an individual (Berger, 2007) A study done by Pepler (1998) in the US on peer relations of aggression and nonaggressive children observed on the playground and in the classroom. The survey and observational data were collected on teacher identified aggressive, nonaggressive and comparison children. The previous study focused on prosaically and antisocial behavior on the playground and in the classroom to assess the effectiveness of social skills and training. The findings were organized according to the systemic-developmental framework. Results that were reported as individual characteristics of bullies and victims, features of interactions and social factors that influence bullying in the classes.

Sixty five percent episodes comprised of face to face direct bullying, thirty percent 30% comprised manipulation by peer group indirect bullying, 5% comprised both direct and indirect bullying. Overall there was more direct than indirect physical bullying (Pepler, 1998). However, it is noticeable that physical bullying is prone in children, as these children possess signs of aggression which are influencing factors to bullying. The above study did not indicate sociological and psychological effects of bullying, therefore this academic paper seeks to find out the effects on indirect bullying. Further studies also done in Africa, South Africa to be specific the two main methods used for this study were observation and face-to-face with semi-structured interviews. The data generated took form of field notes and taped interviews.

This study observed learner behavior in the classroom and playground in order to document actual conflict situations and, where possible, interviewed the disputes immediately. This enabled the researcher to identify learners who were violent and those who were non-violent in conflict situations, and further the observations enabled researchers to document how conflict occurs, the causes of the conflict, the power relations of the boys who were involved in conflict, and how the conflict was diffused, defused or became violent. Boys were identified to be the main respondents in this study. They were between 15 and 17 years old; there were 4 African boys, 4 Indian boys and 2 colored boys. The findings of this study show that conflict and disagreement are common features of school life and it is assumed that this automatically turns into violence, the study found that violent acts are more common in older boys. However, this academic study will understand the correlation between the age and bullying (Hearn, 1998).

Emotional Bullying

Emotional development is vital in childhood development Erickson 1980 argues that individuals must complete a series of conflict task in order to maintain a developmental trajectory to a more functional emotional stance. For example, “during infancy, trust versus mistrust in infants occurs when infants do not learn to trust caretakers, they will develop a suspicious, even paranoid stance when moving along the developmental trajectory” (Hazen et al., 2008).

A study done by Guerin and Hennesy ( 2002) in the republic of Ireland five primary schools selected, two from rural areas and three from urban areas (classified by central statistics office (1992) as those areas with a population of 2800 people. A number of schools were contacted based on geographical location rural/urban classification and accessibility to public transport. There were ninety two from rural and seventy four from urban schools. The population comprised of female 89 and male at 77. The age range was from 10-13 years.

A semi structured interview was designed for this study, Farrington’s 1993 criteria were used to structure the interview. Also Madsen (1996) had reported that the negative effect of bullying was important in pupils’ definition, however this criterion is important and was added too. Participants were initially asked to speak about things that happen at schools that can hurt and upset other pupils. Results show level of inter rater agreement, classification of bullying behavior and frequency of behavior described as bullying. Therefore it is evident that children are affected by bullying in so many ways. The above study did show the prevalence of bullying between rural and urban area, however this paper will show the rate of bullying between public schools and private school.

Another study done with Students in a large middle school (grades 7 and 8) in the Southeastern USA completed measures of life satisfaction and electronic bullying and electronic victimization as part a larger survey of school climate administered and conducted by school personnel. Accounting for absences and students whose parents refused permission to participate 11, a total of 910 students were administered survey packets. After eliminating incomplete surveys, a total of 855 (409 boys and 446 girls) students were included analyses. This sample included 443 seventh-grade (214 boys and 229 girls) and 412 eighth- grade students (195 boys and 217 girls). The mean age of participants was 13 (SD = .76 years). A total of 59% of the participants were Caucasian, 28% were African American, 3% were Asian American or Pacific Islander.

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Approximately 22% of students reported receiving free as an estimate of socio-economic status (SES). Also, lived with both their biological mother and father, living with other combinations of adults such as mother, or other adults. Finally, 59.1% of students with parents married, 23.7% reported their parents were divorced, parents were separated, never married or widowed. However despite the attention on electronic bulling, victimization and life satisfaction. Findings suggest there may be benefits to using multidimensional measures to fully assess life satisfaction (Antaramian et al2008).

Finally a study done in Zambia by Maimba on bullying of impaired students. The study was designed in form of a survey. The target population comprised of all lower and middle grade 1 to 6 special residential school pupils in three schools such as Magwero (Chipata), Ndola Lions (Ndola) and St. Mulumba (Choma) who were visually impaired and all specialist teachers who handled the visually impaired pupils in those schools.The sample consisted of 150 pupils with usual impairments (75 boys and 75 girls) and 15 specialist teachers including the Head teachers and deputy Head teachers. The sample consisted of 165 respondents.

Findings indicate the study revealed there was more bullying among the boys (123) than the girls (90) as reported by the respondents. Responses from the pupils. However, there was more bullying at grade 1 followed by grade 3 and grade 5. Results also shows that more boys (94) than girls (59) were bulled in grade 6 while more boys (79) than girls (47) were bulled in grade 3. At grade 5 again more boys (73) than girls (43) were bullied. Therefore, above statistics shows that bullying was more common among the boys and that bullying was more at grade 1 level of education among the visually impaired pupils. The above study shows prevalence of bullying in the youngest grade and did not give reasons to why these children were predators of bullying.

Bullying is commonly known in literature as peer victimization, it is a form of interaction that children and adolescent usually encounter. A theoretical framework will be provided for analyzing bullying in this section, however there are a number of theories that will help understand bullying in relation to the social aspect and psychological perspective.

To begin with the social ecological approach originally developed by Bronfenbrenner, this social ecological approach considers violence as a result of multiple levels of influence on behavior which include biological and historical factors, relationship between family and peers, community setting and societal forces such as cultural values and beliefs ( Dahlberg & Krug, 2002). However a child who experiences bullying in form of physical violence at home may have difficulties either at school or even in their community. This may affect their normal social behavior in comparison to other children who come from homes that provide a safe and secure environment. Common behaviors in children who experience violence are that of aggression, causing them to engage in bullying and problem behavior. Another theory is the dominance theory, as a motivation for bullying behavior (Long and Pellegrini 2003) this focuses on individual based social hierarchies, however the desire for power and dominance is a central motivating factor that fuels bullying behavior. In addition bullies use intimidation and humiliation as a means of obtaining power, and maintain social status by ongoing bullying. For example bullies get the most support and respect in class and the bullies gain dominance and social power. However one can agree with the above theory in terms of social stratification, where the weaker children in any social setting be it school or the playground. These are usually victimized by bullies. Then there is ‘Behaviorism’, also known as behavioral psychology. Behavioral psychology is a theory based on the idea that all behavior are acquired through conditioning. However, conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. Behaviorist also believe that responses to environmental stimuli shape individual actions. Here one may argue that in order to control or reduce bullying the environment may need controlled variables set in place.

In addition B Watson who is often considered the father of behaviorism summed up a quote ‘give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed in my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select, doctor lawyer even beggar man and thief’. Therefore behavior can be conditioned according to what the desired results are expected to be. However, there are two types of conditioning which are classical conditioning which is when a neutral stimuli is paired with a naturally occurring stimulus and operant conditioning learned through reinforcement and punishment. One may argue that because behaviors can be learnt, the desired behavior will be based on the type of conditions married or linked to the expected behavior for example, if one may want to stop or control a negative behavior punishment would be the best resort and for a positive behavior a reward would be more appropriate.

Then finally social learning theory Bandura & Walters, 1963) is used as a theory providing a broad-band explanation for both desirable and undesirable behavioral outcomes. It includes both cognitive and behavioral approaches. As for cognitive learning approach, it assumes that there are psychological factors that influence behavior. However, social learning theories holds that behavior is influenced by environmental factors, not just psychological or cognitive factors. Thus, social learning theories assumes that psychological and environmental factors combined influence the development of specific behaviors. Therefore in order to control and reduce bullying strategic measures should be put in place.

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