What is Bullying?...


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What is Bullying?

Bullying is a big problem in education. With so many children being closely involved together on a day-to-day basis, some sort of bullying often occurs. But what exactly is bullying and how can it be dealt with? Ed and Kate find out more about this difficult subject.

They started investigating bullying by firstly establishing a definition of bullying from an Oxford dictionary

  • Bully - "A person (or animal) who makes himself or herself a terror to the weak or defenceless."
  • Bullying - "To intimidate, to abuse."

    The Oxford dictionary definition of bullying is fine, but what exactly is it?

    Maybe another question would be why should we worry about bullying as an issue at all? Is it not just part of growing up? Yes it is a fact of life, but that does not mean that we should not be concerned about it, or try and do something about it. Another definition of bullying is:

    "A student (or pupil) is being bullied or victimised when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students." Bullying at School. Olweus, Dan. Blackwell 1993.

    As far as being concerned with bullying, when young people come together there is bound to be interaction and some of this could be of a negative nature (bullying).

    The fact is that bullying can lead to long-term "deficiency" and insecurities in the bullied person and they may find it hard to behave normally because they are being bullied.

    Quiet, withdrawn behaviour is one example here. Unfortunately, such behaviour can itself lead to further bullying because the individual appears more vulnerable.

    Because schools, colleges, etc. are learning institutions it is important to address and deal with bullying because people cannot learn well whilst being under the influence of bullying.

    The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) indicated that one UK bullying helpline received over 16,000 calls and these figures are rising.

    Bullying on the increase.

    One UK study of 13,000 pupils, by Exeter University, found that up to 33 per cent of 11 to 16 year olds are bullied severely and that attending school was becoming a very real concern for them. Earlier studies show that these figures show an increase from 20 per cent.

    So why is bullying increasing?

    The answer seems to lie in the state of society, and with the family in particular. Studies suggest that children who are brought up in a secure environment, with normal caring families very rarely become bullies or suffer from it.

    Often, where children feel rejected by their parents, they express their frustration and rejection in the form of bullying, be it physical or psychological.

    Social factors such as the increase in the divorce rate, work demands, low incomes, etc. are all having an affect on young people whom often turn to bullying as a release.

    How much bullying is going on?

    A Psychology Department study, by Sheffield University UK, found that approximately 10 per cent of pupils in primary schools reported being bullied at least once a week (There was a 4 per cent report of bullying in secondary schools).

    If these figures are extrapolated, then up to 350,000 school children in the age range 8 to 12 years, and over and 100,000 secondary school children, are being bullied in some form or another, at least once a week. So there is a problem.

    Are you being bullied? Don't bottle it up!

    Always remember, don't be afraid to ask for help and share your problem. You might not think so, but there are many people who have had your problem in the past and many people who know how to deal with it.

    ed-u.com pages on bullying:

    1. What is bullying? (This page)
    2. What can be done? Includes links to other useful sites
    3. Print out our Help Sheet for parents, teachers and carers
    4. Print out a questionnaire for children to answer
    5. Print out and colour an Ed and Kate cartoon about bullying
    6. 5 Star recommended books about bullying
    7. Adult Bullying Book - The Bully at Work
    8. Bullying... Our Stories
    9. David Bull - TV Doctor BBC Watchdog talks about Bullying
    10. Share your thoughts and experiences at the Bullying Forums


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