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Harassment

  
By Mary Anne Winslow

According to a standard definition harassment is a kind of offensive behavior. It involves the psychological, emotional, social or physical harassment of one or more person by another individual or group. It includes behaviors and actions that are verbal, physical and/or antisocial. Types:


*psychological
*emotional
*social
*physical


Some examples of different types of harassment:


Emotional and Psychological- This can include: name calling, intimidation, verbal teasing, and gestures that imply later violence


Verbal-This can include: laughing, giggling, whispering, yelling, verbal threats, spreading rumors, name calling,


Social-This can include: exclusion, name calling, teasing, ignoring, mimicking, nasty notes, pointing, staring, making faces, spreading rumors, demanding money or threatening behavior.


Physical-This can include: pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, punching, flicking, theft, throwing victims belongings, breaking/hiding/pushing over or interfering with victims belongings, pulling hair, tearing clothes or belongings, stalking, using weapons


Why some children bully? In order to help victims of harassment to help themselves, there is a need to have some idea why some children bully, how and why they are given opportunities to do so, and how we can monitor, reduce and eventually eliminate bullying.


These are some reasons why children bully:


* Some bullies are simply bored, and see bullying as fun


* Children sometimes tease simply to get a reaction


* The bully believes that bullying makes them more popular or better accepted by their peers


* Most bullies often have difficulty dealing with their own feelings, so they focus on the feelings of others instead.


* Some children are frustrated and prefer to pass on this frustration by bulling rather than dealing with it themselves


* Bullying provides the bully with attention from their peer group, at the victims cost


* Some bullies believe that aggressiveness provides them with status, control, power and feelings of belonging


* Some children believe aggression is the only way to resolve conflict.


* Bullies can be the smart popular children who abuse roles of power and leadership and use them to hurt others


* Some teachers do not take bullying seriously- they simply believe the children are playing around.


How to recognize a bully


Bullies are people who tease, frighten, threaten or hurt others who are not as strong as they are. Most bullies work on their victims fear. They manipulate their victims to exist in a state of fear, reminding them regularly with a look or other action, verbal or non-verbal, of what might happen to them. Some children only bully when they are with friends or a gang. They think they are being "cool". Bullies are sometimes regarded as being strong and powerful, and are often popular and admired by other children.


6 steps for a victim to deal with bullying


1. Deal with your feelings


It is very important for children who are bullied to identify what they are feeling. Dealing with our feelings mobilizes us to action. Expressing feelings is a form of power. Children can abuse, lose or use this power.


2. Understand why you were bullied


It is extremely important for the victim to understand why they have been bullied, (e.g. for fun, looks, weight etc). It avoids wasting energy on blaming or becoming defensive. Understanding will lead to action and a remedy- doing nothing doesn't work. Wrong time, wrong place- anyone can be a victim.


3. Build your Self-Esteem


Children need to build their self-esteem in order to handle bullies and to create a better social life for themselves. Children need constant feedback as a constructive tool for gaining self-esteem.


4. Becoming a confident communicator


Children need to improve their communication skills to deal with bullying. Children need help from teachers and parents to project a positive confident image- that is, not to be scared, but to be prepared.


5. Empowering the individual


Design a plan of action that will empower the victim. Ensure that children are well prepared to frustrate the bullies attempt to hurt them. Remind the individual that bullies love secrecy and hate publicity.


6. Develop a support network


Children who are active participants in a social group cope better than those who try to survive on their own. Children need to develop social skills to improve their support network at school. Parents need to know how to help their children develop these networks both in and out of school.


Effects of bullying


Some people believe that while bullying can be hurtful and painful, they fail to realize the impact it can have in a child's life. Bullying, whether it be social, emotional, physical or psychological, can cause a range of short and long term effects for both the bully and the victim


Effect for the bully:


* After a while the bully loses their power, his popularity will diminish and they can end up being a social drop out


* After a while the bully's friends can get tired and reject their manipulative ways


* Due to their inability to deal with conflict or violence they have problems in relationships later in life both platonic and intimate.


Effects for the victim:


* Bullying can lead to poor self-esteem, bouts of depression, and social isolation in adulthood


* They continued to be bullied at work or at home. They are easily taken advantage of


* The quality of education they receive is often severely diminished


* They are scared to socialize and find it hard to make friends, as other children fear they will be bullies for being friends with that person


* The friends they do make would probably not be caring or consoling and probably would not support them in times of need


* Children can develop a sense of hopelessness. Due to constant bulling the feel powerless and cannot see beyond the constant fear and depression.


* In extreme cases, due to the constant barrage from bullies over an extended period of time some children can develop suicidal tendencies. This may not be as relevant in the primary years but it is the lack of stopping it at this early age, which can prevent this from happening.


James is the most popular boy in his grade. One day at school he made a mean remark to one of the boys in his class- not intending to be nasty, he just did not think about what he was saying. His friends all laughed and though this was funny and encouraged James to keep acting this way towards the boy. Although he did not want to, James continued this behavior.


Why might James have felt like this? What are some ways he could have stopped this behavior from happening?


Jenny just moved to Australia from New Zealand. She did not realize that she had an accent until she was at school and heard other girls whispering about how weird she spoke. Although the girls did not say anything directly to her, Jenny could always hear them whispering about it.


What type of bullying is this and how might Jenny deal with this?


Simon is young for his year and is quite gifted at school. He is exceptionally bright but has very poor social skills. He feels (and quite often tells them) that he is superior to his peers. He boasts about his achievements and will cut people off when trying to talk to him as they are incapable to carry on a "intellectually stimulating" conversation with him. Due to this people avoid him and he is starved for attention and often disrupts the class.


What are some ways in which Simon can be helped? How can this be done? Maria knew that she was not the most popular girl at school but she has many friends. One day at school there was a note going around that had a nasty rumor about her on it. These notes kept appearing on a regular basis, but as hard as the teacher tried they could not find the origin of where they were coming from.


CONCLUSION


Bullying often occurs in schools. Bullying involves both victims and bullies. It is important to remember that it is not always the victim's fault. Remember- Wrong time, wrong place- anyone can be a victim. It is just as important to find out why a certain child chose to bully another- so the problem can be fixed so the incident of bullying will not happen again. Strategies need to be in place at schools to provide a safe environment where children can learn without fear. By putting certain strategies into place bullying can be eliminated and both the victim as well as the bully will be better off.


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