Bullying During Preteens and Teens
Bullying peaks during these years but is also the most vicious. Average middle school student experiences at least one verbal harassment per day.
Relational aggression, rumor spreading and emotional bullying are common amongst girls.
Electronic bullying (via text, IM, pagers, cell phones, websites, Facebook, and emails) also begins.
Bullying turns to sexual harassment. Forty percent of fifth through either graders say they’ve been sexually harassed by peers (mostly boys).
While you can’t always be there to step in and protect your child there are ways to help your son or daughter be less likely to be victimized in the first place. Your first step is to get educated!
Erikson's Eight Stages of Development
5. Learning Identity Versus Identity Diffusion (Fidelity)
During the fifth psychosocial crisis (adolescence, from about 13 or 14 to about 20) the child, now an adolescent, learns how to answer satisfactorily and happily the question of "Who am I?" But even the best - adjusted of adolescents experiences some role identity diffusion: most boys and probably most girls experiment with minor delinquency; rebellion flourishes; self - doubts flood the youngster, and so on.
Erikson believes that during successful early adolescence, mature time perspective is developed; the young person acquires self-certainty as opposed to self-consciousness and self-doubt. He comes to experiment with different - usually constructive - roles rather than adopting a "negative identity" (such as delinquency). He actually anticipates achievement, and achieves, rather than being "paralyzed" by feelings of inferiority or by an inadequate time perspective. In later adolescence, clear sexual identity - manhood or womanhood - is established. The adolescent seeks leadership (someone to inspire him), and gradually develops a set of ideals (socially congruent and desirable, in the case of the successful adolescent). Erikson believes that, in our culture, adolescence affords a "psychosocial moratorium," particularly for middle - and upper-class American children. They do not yet have to "play for keeps," but can experiment, trying various roles, and thus hopefully find the one most suitable for them.
(referenced from here - Dec. 2010)
The Internet Generation: Bullying Has Gone Digital
This is the introduction to a recent research paper written by Anne Conway (U of Dublin).
The author feels this research study has brought a new perspective to the discussion on the prevention and management of cyber bullying in Irish schools. Much of the published research to date has focused on quantifying the clearly negative effects and prevalence of cyber bullying. Through an extensive literature review and interviews with adolescents, the author was able to clarify the important role that the Internet, in particular social networking sites, play in assisting with their social and personal development. Furthermore, this study identified some harmful aspects of cyber bullying that had not been indicated in previous research. These included; the unique sense of isolation felt by victims of cyber bullying, the subtle nature of cyber bullying which can make it hard to identify, the reluctance of social networking sites to act on less obvious bullying, the inability to be certain about a commenter's intention because one can’t see their facial expressions, and the lack of realisation among some that behaviour they perceive as “cool” could be classified as bullying. The research also identified that cyber bullying can be even more damaging where it is accompanied by the threat of a perceived over-reaction from parents or teachers to remove access to the sites themselves from the victim; thus increasing their fear of social isolation. In conclusion, the author calls for policymakers to move away from banning social networking sites as the solution to cyber bullying, and suggests an inclusive approach which sees greater openness and discussion amongst school managers, care workers, teachers, parents and students about how to behave and protect oneself online.
(This research paper was accessed in Dec 2010.)
Bullying and Its’ Relationship with Depression among Teenagers
In conclusion, bullying affects not just the victims of bullying incidents, but also the bullies themselves. It has been found that bullying leads to the prediction of depression even among bullies. The act equally leads to anti psychosocial behaviours such as smoking, drinking and involvement in violent behaviour in later life (Smokowski and Kopasz 2005). Available data indicates that the concept of bullying is on the rise among teenagers (Kowalski 2003).
However, despite the alarming increase of bullying incidents in most countries, strategic policies has yet been implemented by countries in combating the menace. Hitherto, bullies were thought to be immune to depression, however recently emerging studies suggest otherwise (Nansel et al. 2001) including the current study.
Research Author - Kamla-Raj
(referenced from here in Dec 2010)
The Mind of the Bully (H. Sanchez)
Developing the School Plan
Selecting Effective Anti-Bullying Programs
New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention supports adherence to well-founded prevention principles and practices to ensure effective program outcomes. This "critical criteria" checklist was developed by the Training Project Committee of the NJ Coalition as a tool for school administrators and agency directors to use in selecting anti-bullying programs.
The key principle to use in selecting programs is to look for comprehensive and ongoing approaches, as opposed to 'one-shot' events or short-term projects, which are unlikely to have lasting impact or to create cultural change. Specifically, consider whether the program has the following characteristics:
1. A framework based on empirical research and a clear and sensible theory.
2. Involves the entire school community.
3. Addresses the role of adults in childhood bullying (e.g., modeling of bullying behavior, implicit acceptance or explicit endorsement of childhood bullying and inaction or inadequate response to bullying).
4. Integrated elements (program components work well together, fit an overall framework).
5. Long-term and adequate intensity (e.g., years not months; school-wide effort and impact).
6. Includes baseline measurements of the nature and extent of bullying in the setting (e.g., anonymous self-report surveys and/or student focus groups) and follow-up assessments to determine the effectiveness of the interventions.
7. Developmentally appropriate (e.g., language and materials used varies for children of different ages, addresses how bullying changes from pre-school through high school years).
8. Culturally responsive (e.g., accounts for program-relevant differences in communities and populations; affirming and strengthening cultural, racial and linguistic identities).
9. Community-based (extends beyond the school/agency, partners with other community organizations).
10. Parent/caregiver/family-oriented (e.g., helps parents/caregivers address bullying in home and community environments; cultivates partnerships between schools and families).
11. Actively supports at-risk or targeted students (e.g., by inclusion, by identifying and supporting individual strengths and interests).
1. Does the program foster a whole-school approach, with collaboration between administration, counseling staff, teaching staff (including coaches) and support staff (clerical, cafeteria, custodial, security, etc.), parents, community members and students?
2. Does the program foster a comprehensive approach, with interventions at the level of the whole school, the classroom (including teams and clubs) and the individuals who bully and are bullied?
3. Does the program emphasize training for all staff on identifying, reporting, confronting and imposing consequences for bullying behaviors?
4. Does the program empower student bystanders to withhold support from or actively dissuade bullying behavior?
5. Does the program include measures (such as character education, responsive school/classroom and collaborative learning) to improve school climate, particularly the ways in which students, teachers, administrators and other school staff communicate with one another?
6. Does the program address different forms of bullying (e.g., physical, verbal, relational, cyber-bullying)?
7. Does the program cover sexual harassment, bullying based on race, culture, gender-identity, disability and other forms of bias-based bullying?
8. Does the program emphasize measuring bullying in the school or setting, and recommend specific measurement approaches (such as surveys or focus groups)?
9. Does the program emphasize and offer specific suggestions for rules and consequences for bullying (such as a set of graduated negative sanctions as well as positive sanctions for engaging in kind and considerate behavior) and ensure that rules and sanctions are fairly and consistently enforced?
10. Is the program proactive, not only responding to bullying incidents when they may become known but creating a telling school in which students and staff are actively encouraged to report incidents of bullying?
11. Is the program preventive, addressing conditions which lead to bullying (e.g., inadequate support for potential targets of bullying; clique and gang activity; negative adult role models)?
12. Does the program emphasize the importance of administrative approval, of identifying clear leadership for the anti-bullying work and assuring that the leadership group receives ongoing support?
13. Does the program include training and materials specifically for parents, caregivers and families?
14. Is the presenter familiar with New Jersey's laws regarding bullying, hazing, harassment and discrimination and does the program support the mandates for compliance with the law and identify violations?
10 Ways to Protect Your Children from Cyberbullying
1. Join the RanksOne of the best ways to understand what your kids are doing online is to do it, too. Create a MySpace or Facebook page and add your kids as "friends." It's no different than expecting to meet your kids friends and dates. You'll be able to see what your kids are posting and what type of response they may be getting. Besides, you might have fun as well.
2. Pay AttentionKids typically give signals when they are in distress. They may withdraw from family and friends, become increasingly angry, moody and sullen or start acting out. And, yes, this is normal teen behavior! Even so, these are all cries for help. It is important that parents pay attention to these signals as they arise because they may be signs that something bigger is going on.
3. ListenIf your child casually mentions an incidence of cyberbullying, or other disturbing Internet activities, make the time to listen. Resist the urge to “pump” your child for information, and instead give them openings to share what they are thinking and feeling without judgment from you.
4. EducateMake sure your kids understand what cyberbullying is and why it’s dangerous. Ask them what they would do if they found themselves on the receiving end, and encourage them to think about how the victims might feel. Have your kids name some adults they could turn to for help and let them know that it’s OK if they don’t feel comfortable coming directly to you. The important thing is that they find someone who can support them and get any help they may need.
5. Take Things SeriouslyCyberbullying is not a joke and should never be treated as such. Whether your children are on the giving or receiving end, it is essential that you step in to resolve the problem. Never encourage kids to mislead, tease, slander or otherwise harm someone else online.
6. Be SupportiveNever, ever brush off cyberbullying incidents. If your child is upset, you need to take it seriously and support them through the next steps. You may think your child is overreacting, but things that seem trivial to adults hold a much larger impact for adolescents. Your guidance can help your child learn how to handle difficult situations.
7. Be FirmSet expectations about computer use early on. Say “no” to inappropriate Internet activities for your kids and hold firm. If there are rules about when and where the computer can be used, make sure they are clear and enforceable. Don’t forget that your kids could be accessing the Internet in places outside of your home.
8. Follow ThroughIf you suspect that a child is the victim of cyberbullying attacks, immediately take action. This activity can quickly escalate to dangerous levels. You’ll want to take the steps to stop the cyberbully in the short term, and also follow up in the future.
9. Get HelpDon’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to a teacher, principal, parent or even law enforcement to help deal with a situation. And, if your child is showing signs of distress, consider having them talk with a counselor or doctor. Remember that cyberbullying can refer to emotional harassment, but can also result in physical danger.
10. EncourageHelp your child find safe things to do online and positive ways to express their identity and creativity. Rather than engaging in social networking sites, some kids might like designing video games, composing music, exploring digital photography or creating digital art. In additional, encourage them to take on activities offline, such as clubs, church groups and sports. Remember that the draw of chats and social networking is the ability to connect with other people, so help them find positive ways to make the same connections.
This list was written by Christy Matte. (Dec. 2010)