In this paper, I have summarized three peer-reviews articles. Each article emphasizes the short term and long term implications of bullying. The first article “Risk Factors for Involvement in Cyber Bullying: Victims, Bullies, Bully Victims” discusses the overwhelming introduction of cyber-bullying in today’s society. The second article, “Approach to Bullying and Victimization” reveals the importance of medical professionals in preventing and managing the well being of victims and bullies. The last article, “Tackle Bullying- Canadian Bullying Statistics” addresses the statistics regarding kids being bullied in today’s school system and how it can progress into adulthood and the work place if not addressed properly. My experiences and opinions follow each summary and my essay is concluded with an overview of how each article coincides with one another.
In this essay, I will discuss the prevalence of bullying in our schools and the many consequences that surface as a result of the bullying. Although there are many other critical issues in our school system today, this is one that I was involved in both as a victim, and as a bully throughout my middle school and high school careers specifically. Bullying is happening today through online forums more than ever before, and I believe the physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms can change your life indefinitely.
The article “Risk Factors for Involvement in Cyber Bullying: Victims, Bullies, Bully Victims” by Faye Mishna (2012) talks about the prevalence of cyber-bullying today. Cyber bullying is defined as “the use of cell phones, instant messaging, email, chat rooms, or social networking site to harass threaten or intimidate someone” (Mishna. 2012). In the past, at least victims could purely avoid school or public places where they might be bullied. Although this would be more socially damaging to them than facing the bully in many cases, the victim still had a chance to get away. With the overwhelming presence of technology in our society today, most victims simply cannot get away from being attacked. It happens at school, at the mall, at their supper table, in their bedroom, in the bathroom; wherever they have their phone or iPad, there is a possibility of them being attacked.
This article was created after an initial study utilized a self-report survey in a diverse group of 2186 middle and high school students in Toronto to examine the relationship between cyber-bullying and independent variables such as gender, age, parental involvement, and technology use. It was reported that “over 30% of students identified as involved in cyber bullying, as victims, or perpetrators” (Mishna.2012). An analysis of the data concluded that the amount of hours per day students use the computer and the willingness to share passwords were both risk factors in the likelihood of being bullied. It was also reported that more females than males self-reported as being bully-victims. This group of bully-victims emerged as the most common group compared to previous studies where this group was the smallest and most vulnerable.
It frightens me to think that bully-victims were the largest group in this survey. The victims know exactly what it feels like to be bullied, so the fact that they are taking it out on other students and becoming the bully is a vicious circle that is going to be nearly impossible to escape. In my personal experience though I do remember the kids that would bully the most aggressive were usually the ones that were also picked on in the first place. I cannot fathom how these victims function on a day-to-day basis when they simply cannot escape this type of bullying. When I was a kid, we were always told to walk away from the situation if you do not want to be in it. These victims cannot walk away from school and Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram and their text-messages. Even if they try, with social media being so public, a victim would always be unsettled waiting for a public attack on any of these forums.
The article “Approach to Bullying and Victimization” by Jennifer Lamb (2009) emphasizes the fact that “involvement in bullying is a destructive relationship problem, with important health implications” (Lamb, 2009). Medical professionals play a large part in the intervention and management of both victim and bully roles. The article outlines two medical cases where clients presented their physicians with medical or psychological problems, and as more information was divulged, both were sought to be victims of bullying.
The article presents a set of steps to manage bullying scenarios in our schools. In order for this to be successful, this must be a multi-disciplinary approach that involves parents, teachers, school officials, physicians, and mental health professionals. The first step is to look for symptoms. There are physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches, psychosomatic problems such as difficulty sleeping, and psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and poor school functioning. The affects of bullying can also have prolonged health problems such as behavioral problems and drug and alcohol abuse. The second step is to know when kids are being bullied. Authorities need to ask questions regarding where bullying is taking place, how often, what period of time it has been happening for, and where it happens. Finally, after bullying has been recognized, all authorities figures need to work together to manage the scenario. Immediate intervention is needed to stop the bullying, and long term strategies need to be asserted. These long-term goals might consist of counseling both the victim and the bully about developing a sense of empathy, assertiveness, stopping the aggressive behavior, and exploring relationship solutions.
I believe overall, physicians play a large role in prevention and management of bullying in our school system today. In my experience, most kids will not say they are being bullied, as they fear it will only get worse. For instance, I made excuses for the bruises that appeared on my body and my unusual sleeping and eating patterns. This is where I needed a medical professional to intervene and enlighten my parents to the fact that there was more going on at school than I was willing to share. I believe this is a prevalent matter in our society that happens more often than we want to believe.
The third piece of literature I chose to examine was “Tackle Bullying- Canadian Bullying Statistics” by M.Molcho (2009). This outlined statistics based on a number of different categories. Over one-third of adolescent students in Canada reported being bullied and over 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis. This is an alarming fact that bullying not only continues, but increases as these adolescents move into adulthood and real-life work places. It also stated that 73% of cyber-bullying victims had reported that the most common form of attack involved receiving threatening or aggressive email or instant messages.
As previously stated, cyber-bullying is an evolving problem in our society and I believe it is simply going to get worse. Although I did not have access to many social media forums when I was in school, I did have a cell phone, and at some points throughout my middle and high school career, I was bullied through text-messages. These were hard to acknowledge because I had my phone with me no matter where I was, as I am sure most kids do, so they could get to me at any point. I would try and just ignore what they were saying, but either way, I had read the text so it resonated with me no matter what I was doing.
In all three texts, the prevalence of bullying is evident in today’s society through many different forums. Cyber-bullying is becoming more common than it has at any other point in time. This can affect all aspects of life, as the victims simply cannot get away from their attackers. As previously stated, in my personal experience I am glad that this was not as prevalent as it is in today’s society. Kids have some piece of technology near them at almost every point of the day so this is a type of bullying they simply cannot escape from.
Bullying, especially cyber-bullying can affect kids in a multitude of ways that can carry on with them through adulthood. Although these are serious, if caught early enough they can be prevented. It is important for this to be a multi-disciplinary approach when intervening in a bully-victim scenario, as there may be more than one reason this is happening. Teachers, parents, and medical professionals can help to prevent and manage these scenarios by watching for symptoms such as withdrawal from activities, bruises, a sad or angry demeanor, and any unusual characteristics of the child. Bullying can have life-long consequences if it is prolonged for any period of time.
Lamb, J. (2009). Approach to Bullying and Victimization. Official Publication of the College of Family Physicians of Canada 55(4):356-360. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669002/
Mishna, F. (2012). Risk Factors for Involvement in Cyber Bullying: Victims, Bullies, and Bully-Victims. Children and Youth Services Volume 34, Issue 1. Retrieved October 15,2016 from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740911003343
Molcho, M. (2009). Tackle Bullying. Canadian Bullying Statistic. Retrieved October 16,2016 from http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45838.html