It is acknowledgeable that bullying is not new since it has been in existence for several years. A considerable number of students as aware of what bullying is having fallen victims of this evil act or have witnessed other students get bullied in school. The advent of computers, mobile phones and the internet has given rise to a new form of bullying that is considerably different from the traditional form of bullying (physical bullying) famously known as cyber bullying.
According to estimates by The National Crime Prevention Council (2007), a good number of children currently have access to mobile phones and computers that are available in homes and schools. As such, the number of incidences of the traditional form of bullying (physical bullying) has tremendously reduced; cyberbullying is gradually but steadily becoming the most rampant type of bullying. Reports by The National Crime Prevention Council (2007) indicate that only 20% of the total teens in America admit not having used the internet from a running three years more. This means that the remaining 80% have used the internet at some point in a span on three years. The Center for Safe Schools (n.d.) also reports that on any given day, more that 160 000 students miss schools because of bullying related reasons. Indubitably, most of the current studies are based on cyberbullying even though it should not be misconstrued that physical bullying is now a thing of the past.
The effects of traditional bullying and cyberbullying are exceedingly pronounced. Shore (2005) asserts that being bullied can be extraordinarily excruciating and can live to haunt one for a staggeringly long time. Some of the commonly known effects of bullying and cyberbullying include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and even in some instances, one might have self-destructive thoughts (Shore, 2005). As Shore (2005) further asserts, it is not only the victims of bullying that are always affected by the act- witnesses of bullying acts can also behave affectedly. The aforementioned effects of bullying and cyberbullying truly serve the reinforce the notion that bullying (and cyberbullying) is a burning issue hence the need to come up with several working ameliorative models that can be utilitarian in helping curb bullying and cyberbullying.
On his part, Lee (2004) proposes a strategy that is somewhat related to the above mentioned strategies although his is aimed at increasing awareness besides creating an enabling environment in which teachers and students can understand the aspects of bullying effectively. Awareness-raising can be achieved with the help of the curriculum; affective curriculum us instrumental in evoking emotions that can prove useful in the fight against bullying (Lee, 2004). Nonetheless, even though some situations might call for punitive measures, it is of importance to note that punishing the bully is perhaps the last strategy that should be employed to avert bullying. It is advisable that before any punitive measure is taken, the teachers (and parents) should take a long-term consideration of the strategy because it is not always that punishments yield the desired behavior change. Lee (2004) further advocates for schools to come with ways through which victims and bullies can obtain support services, either punitive or counseling, even though efforts should be made so that the school passes an overly stern message against bullying. With regard to passive bullies (member of bully groups that hide in the group for protection and are always directly involved in any bullying activity), Lee (2004) encourages schools to look for ways through which they can instill attributes of empathy, sympathy, contriteness and apprehension so that they can stand against bullying acts.
The success of all the preventive strategies highlighted above is considerably dependent on the presence of school policies that are by all means impressive in strength or excellence with regard to fight against bullying. “School policies on discipline and bullying could accentuate the positive role of pupils in caring from themselves and others” (Allan, 1999, p. 120). Therefore, there is a need for schools to formulate formidable anti-bullying policies that will govern all the activities and programs if the school in light of aversion of bullying (Allan, 1999).
Concisely, even though bullying has been in existence for a long time, there are various strategies that can be used to stop or prevent this undesirable act that has far reaching effects. Besides affecting one emotionally, bullying leads to multiple psychological effects and currently one of the leading reasons why thousands of students miss school every day. Prevention strategies for bullying include; evidence-based programs that engage schools in the development project with an overriding aim of helping the school change its practices and culture, increasing awareness using the curriculum, counseling and employing punitive measures, among other strategies.
Allan, J. (1999). Actively Seeking Inclusion: Pupils with Special Needs in Mainstream Schools. London: Falmer Press.
Center For Safe Schools. (N.D.). About Bullying Prevention. Retrieved March 26, 2013, From Http://Www.Safeschools.Info/Bullying-Prevention/About-Bullying-Prevention
Lee, C. (2004). Preventing Bullying In Schools: A Guide for Teachers and Other Professionals. London: Paul Chapman.
National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), (2007). Teens and Cyber Bullying. Retrieved From http://www.ncpc.org/resources/files/pdf/bullying/Teens%20and%20Cyberbullying%20Research%20Study.pdf
Shore, K. (2005). The ABC's Of Bullying Prevention: A Comprehensive Schoolwide Approach: for Parents. Port Chester, NY: National Professional Resources.
Strohmeier, D., & Noam, G. G. (2012). Evidence-Based Bullying Prevention Programs for Children and Youth. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Wiley.