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Patrick Flood

PSY 1010

12/6/17

Psychology and Adolescents: Bullying

How common is bullying today? What can be done to put an end to it?

As the stage of adolescence begins for young men and women, many changes

and experiences come their way. Life in the home, with peers, and other social aspects

of a young adolescent become even more influential in their life. It is stated so very well

in the text that, Regardless of the structure or norms of a particular peer group, peers

play an extremely important role in the psychological development of adolescents.

(SFTS, 2017) Bullying is an issue that is widespread and negatively influences many

young adolescent boys and girls in the United States every day. Finding the causes for

possible bullying within the mentioned different life aspects is especially crucial to the

success and overall well being of all adolescents.

About one-third of students report having been bullied at some time during the

past year. (SFTS, 2017) This number continues to rise as physical, emotional, mental,

and even cyber bullying remains prevalent across the United States. Over 160,000

young adolescent kids stay home from school everyday due to this fear inducing and

ongoing issue. (SFTS, 2017) The importance that is found in having a bully free life at

home and with peers is the psychosocial development and overall well being of the

future generations of adolescence. Most adolescent age boys and girls find that time in
the home versus time with peers do not necessarily conflict or compete, but rather

provide contrasting opportunities for adolescent activities and behaviors.

The causes that underlie reasons for teenagers to bully and/or become victims of

bullying, often stem from young people and their interactions with others. Whether its at

home, school, or other places, this seems to be a factor that is found to be much more

important and crucial as research and studies continue.

From an original article in the British Journal of Educational Psychology, author

Daniel Muijs highlights this main cause for the widespread bullying issue. Published in

the earlier part of this year in February, Muijs proposes the concept that bullying is very

much a cause from social aspects in one's life, not simply a basis dependent on

individual circumstance.

There are methods to reduce the amount of bullying that is taking place. Due to

research and a more systematic review of different intervention methods, an article from

the Journal of Experimental Criminology, sheds more light on the subject. Written by

Maria M. Ttofi and David P. Farrington, in September of 2010, the analysis given in the

article supports that school-based interventions could decrease bullying by over 20%,

and victimization by up to 20% (Ttofi & Farrington, 2010). On a non-school aspect, it

was also stated that Parent training/meetings and disciplinary methods were found to

be significant components of successful interventions. (Ttofi & Farrington, 2010) There

is evidence of bullying in school and how everyone can be involved to help fix the

problem. Awareness is a key element in the endeavor to end bullying, and some

necessary steps are found through such interventions.


On the other hand of all this anti-bully talk, what if youre own friend or kid is the

one that is the bully? In an article in Time Magazine, by Belinda Luscombe, released in

October 2011, strong advice and help is outlined to reach out to those in this situation.

Luscombe describes a story of an excited, fun, and energetic kid that can be stingingly

insensitive and cruel in one second and incredibly empathetic and kind the next.

(Luscombe, 2011) The story shares moments in which this young boy tries to fit in but

his personality can be too strong at times. This is a common finding when it comes to

bullies. They may be more opinionated at times and their personalities stronger, thus

causing a big disconnect between them and peers.

The solution, as described, is to involve the kids in things that they enjoy, with

peers that enjoy it as well. Trying to help them connect on different levels and to

dissipate the tension or labels of bully or victim in the minds of the kids. It is said that

many kids just need more patience than others when it comes to growth and

development. It is equally important for parents and family to treat the kids with respect

and love in the home as well as discipline when necessary. Helping them understand

that certain actions may hurt others, especially peers that are the kids own age.

The final article piece that I found intriguing and helpful concerning the issue of

adolescent bullying, is found through The New York Times Magazine, written by NIck

Bilton. This particle piece is centered around cyberbullying. Technology has become a

necessity to people in the world today. Social media and other methods of

communication are very useful and often times essential. Through these different

outlets of communication, positivity as well as negativity may flow. Bilton discusses the

issues with cyberbullying and ways that we may all be experiencing it one way or
another. The main obstacle is the lack of empathy. Psychologists say that empathy is

learned two ways. The first is by seeing, hearing or even smelling how your action has

hurt someone else something that is not available to those behind a screen and

keyboard. The second is to experience something painful yourself. (Bilton, 2015)

Cyberbullying is an ongoing discussion by many. A very common solution that

has been discussed is to simply think about what you are saying and if it can easily be

misinterpreted. It can be difficult to express the correct emotion in type and text but if

consideration and thought is put into our words online, we may assist in the ending of

cyberbullying.

I had the opportunity to interview a friend, who is above the age of 18, about the

subject of bullying. Through said interview, experiences with bullying through their

adolescent years were expressed to me. My friend relates a moment in his adolescence

of when he was the victim of bullying and how the aspects of the issue has influenced

him from his adolescence and beyond.

Interview: Kaique

The first interview was with my close friend. I didn't go to highschool with him but

we have been very close since post high school days. Overall, he said high school was

an enjoyable time with friends and classmates, but there were low moments that

actually resulted in depression or struggling self-consciousness. Through this interview

he related a particular story of an occurrence of bullying that is still ingrained in his mind

today as one that embarrassed and scarred him emotionally.


His story begins when he was talking with friends in the commons area of his

high school after class hours one day. A boy that he knew and was acquainted with

walked over with a couple of his buddies and started joining in a conversation my friend

was having with his peers. Suddenly the boy lunges forward and my friend and yanks

his pants down to the ground. Laughter erupts and is heard coming from friends and

other bystanders. My friend explains how he sheepishly picks up his shorts back from

his feet, trying to act confident as if he didn't care about what just happened; Although

he was very embarrassed. He saw the perpetrator laughing among the others.

The act of getting pantsed, and at school none the less, is only a single piece to

the various methods found in the bullying spectrum. I asked my friend some questions

regarding this story and here are his responses:

What effects did that experience have on the rest of your high school life?

It may seem silly to some but because of the social confidence and self esteem I had at

the time was at a lower point in my life, it was difficult for me for a while. I felt angry at

the kid who did that to me, and I felt embarrassed and less confident around my friends

that witnessed that. High school had more moments that hurt my self esteem and

confidence but that one is a moment that sticks out my mind as an influential one.

Did any more occurrences happen with this particular bully/acquaintance?

That is the weird thing. Nothing happened with that kid again. He and I weren't exactly

friends but we weren't like enemies you know? I don't know why I still remember that

moment vividly. I think if my girlfriend wasn't there it would've been different, but she
saw it happen and it was just embarrassing.

How does that moment in adolescence affect you currently?

Fortunately, I was able to overcome the depression and issues I faced in high school,

so it really isn't that deep of a cut for me anymore. It bothered me back then and even

though I tried to play it off all cool and confident, it still bothered me, and to the point

where I held a small grudge against that kid for a while, and stuff like that isn't ever

healthy for anyone.

Did you turn to someone for help after this happened?

No, but thinking about it, I wish i did. I wish I confronted him and said it wasn't

cool. That kid is kind of known for being obnoxious and kind of a bully. Maybe even

talking to parents or someone at the school couldve helped. I think the whole thing is

silly now, but like I said, it bothered me big time back in the day, so I guess it wouldve

been beneficial to turn to someone.

The silliness of the act was overshadowing the fact that it caused embarrassment

and apparently emotional scarring for my friend. Even though it doesn't affect him now,

it was something that was adding to other negative influences in his life through

adolescence. Even the simplest acts of bullying can be very influential. Whether it is

words that are said, physical harm that is dealt, or demeaning emotional manipulation,

bullying is still bullying no matter how great or small the act. Something that seems

small or harmless to some may be hurtful and much more damaging to others.

It is very clear through experiences shared as well as research submitted, that


bullying is a real issue and a terrible one at that. Awareness and action are the correct

responses that need to be prevalent in the lives of all adolescents, both in the home, in

school, and throughout the community. Our battle against bullying will be an ongoing

one, but it can most definitely be heavily in our favor if we all do our part.

Whether it is cyberbullying or an actual kid bullying others in school, we can take

a stand to make environments both online and in the real world a more comfortable and

enjoyable place. To do this, three key social groups need to act.

First, anti-bullying falls on the head of the parents of individuals.As parents are

keeping their home a safe environment in which they can teach their children to respect

others and themselves, then confidence may be given to children and they will be able

to live in harmony with other peers in different settings. Parents need to develop of

discipline and love. Children need their parents as listening ears, so that bully

awareness may continue to thrive and conquer the issue. If parents do not listen well

and act for their children, confidence will not be given to children and bullying will

continue to happen as heavily as it is currently.

The next element in successful anti-bullying campaign is a safe and aware

school system for every child. School is where bullying seems to be most prevalent.

Having awareness week or day each year is great, and honored by most schools today.

But, it is not enough. Schools need to make daily and weekly efforts in the fight against

bullying. Strengthening staff and teaching them what to look for and how to intervene is

important in this factor. As schools stay on the forefront of the anti-bullying brigade,

alongside parents, then we will see a decrease in the amount of bullies and an increase
in student confidence and success.

Lastly, but definitely not least, the community needs involvement to help put an

end to bullying. The community specifically can magnify efforts by school systems and

make the awareness much more broad. Hosting events for schools and the entirety of

the community will strengthen and unify all in the fight for the anti-bullying cause. Similar

to the efforts done by the school systems, the community needs to have daily or weekly

efforts to help awareness and actions spread.

The community, schools, and parents work hand in hand to make this possible. If

one group is weak, then the whole campaign may run improperly or be in vain. It is

essential that unity is at the head of this cause.

In conclusion, a world with continuous threats towards our children, because of

bullying is not a world we want to live in. Right now it is apart of our environment but it

doesn't have to be. Self-esteem, confidence, success, and potential for our children can

be much higher. As we are all involved in the great cause to end bullying, it will bring an

overall greater and more abundant life to our children, as well as ourselves.

Bibliography

Bilton, Nick. "When The Cyber Bully Is You." New York Times 29 Apr. 2015: n.

pag. Print.
The true source that is behind bullying on the internet has been a problem now for over

a decade. Being discussed through many different media outlets for the public to

access, this article takes a look at the possible outstanding issues that may be causing

others and ourselves to be involved with cyberbullying.

Luscombe, Belinda. "What if My Son Is a Bully?" Time Magazine 18 Oct. 2011: n.

pag. Print.

In this Time article, the perspective of a parent is illustrated as her child is involved with

bullying. An in depth look at what the issue at hand is as well as the solution for parents

who share the same predicament concerning their children and bullying.

Muijs, Daniel. "Can schools reduce bullying? The relationship between school

characteristics and the prevalence of bullying behaviours." British Journal of

Educational Psychology 87.2 (2017): 255-72. Web.

In this journal piece the problem of bullying in school systems is identified and followed

up with results from specific surveys and experiments. A detailed response as to the

effects of bullying and the different surveyed ways that it can be identified in our schools

today.

Ttofi, Maria M., and David P. Farrington. "Effectiveness of school-based programs

to reduce bullying: a systematic and meta-analytic review." Journal of

Experimental Criminology 7.1 (2010): 27-56. Web.

In this review, a response to the behaviors of adolescence in bullying and their relation

to the reduction methods that are being implemented. A deeper take on the intervention
methods used to counter the issue of bullying and their respective results shared.

End Bullying With Stand For The Silent . N.p., n.d. Web. 19 July 2017.

A website featuring the most current statistics and references for the subject of bullying,

cyberbullying, and other detailed issues pertaining to the aforementioned to. Included

forums, discussions, and information to unite interested persons for the cause

represented.