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It is common to see bullying happen in the high school age group. Many teenagers often believe they can get away with bullying due to their lack of consequences or unclear consequences. Due to the advancement of technology, kids now have another source of bullying; social media. Children are no longer able to escape the harassment as it follows them wherever they go. These issues aren’t something to brush aside. Millions of kids are affected by this yearly. Thousands of kids’ lives are at stake. Society has slowly started to become more aware of this and have already begun taking action. There have been measures performed in schools and even in the government to prevent, assist, or completely stop the heinous acts of bullying. To discuss the theme of bullying in schools, this essay analyzes the main causes, effects, and solutions to this issue.
Although not permitted, encouraged or excused, there are reasons behind why people decide to play a part in bullying. One does not simply just decide to hurt someone else unless they, themselves have underlying issues. There is no acceptable reason to bully another human so when a bully performs actions that negatively impact another person, a majority of the time they are doing it “to escape their own problems”. That is the one thing that all bullies have in common. They are tearing others down due to something not right in their own mind. Many bullies have been victims of bullying before or have gone through some type of hatred that made them feel like less of a human so in order to balance it out, in their minds, the only way is to tear someone else down right with them. This is giving them reassurance that they aren’t the only ones that are out of place or not like the rest. They are boosting their confidence because they believe that if someone is below them in society then they don’t have to be seen as the worst or the weirdest or the dumbest.
In addition to them personally going through hardships, there is also the probable reason for them noticing someone is different and as society has taught us, you push away those who are not like us. According to PACERS.org, many bullied victims say that they are bullied based on their skin tone, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. All things that they are unable to control but also all things that make them who they are. Bullying instances tend to happen against a minority or against someone who has been seen as less human in society before. This too, though, also stems from the bullies personal issues and their battles in their head. They bully as a way of protecting themselves. They see something as a threat so they tear it down, they see something as different and change for many is scary so instead of learning, their ignorance gets the best of them and they tear them down. All in all, the action of bullying is rooted deep in individuals who don’t know what they should know.
Furthermore, teenage children are more likely to participate in bullying because they either have no one telling them it is wrong or don’t have any consequences. For example, cyberbullying has become a main source of bullying because students aren’t facing their victim so they don’t see the effects of what they’re doing. They are also more willing to bully through social media because nothing is stopping them.
The effects of bullying can be catastrophic. Being harmed or getting told that you aren’t enough or experiencing things you don’t give permission to are all instances that can tear someone apart, especially a teenage child. As a teenager, you are learning to become yourself, you’re still figuring out who you want to be so being treated like that isn’t enough or right can emotionally affect you. Being a victim of such a careless, disheartening act can cause a child’s mental health to decline. HelpGuide.org, explains it as a feeling of hopelessness and shame as well as fear and loneliness. These feelings confuse teenagers and can build up and lead to even more severe emotions and actions. Many children who are victims tend to develop depression which commonly leads to a decrease in physical health. Children with deep depression can start to participate in other unhealthy actions such as eating too much or too little, giving into drugs and alcohol, self harming, skipping school to escape the source of all their pain. Victims often become suicidal. “Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University” (bullyingstatistics.org) this statistic is more than just numbers. These are the lives of children. People who have yet to actually live. The fact is, suicide is the third leading cause of teenagers and a majority of those deaths were kids who experienced bullying. These numbers are slowly and lightly being impacted by the solutions to bullying that have been introduced into school systems.
This being an ongoing problem has forced school systems and the government to implement solutions in order to decrease the severity of students’ health. A variety of solutions have been introduced into education and to staff of a school, students, and parents. There has been a recurrence of failed attempts that hardly affect the amount of bullying that goes on. The idea of just informing parents and adults on how to deal with bullies or bullied victims. It has been determined to be unproductive and useless to just say parents and teachers should pay more attention. A parent can be the most observant parent and still miss the signs of their kids being bullied or their kids being the bullies. There must be further resolutions in order to fully touch on the matter.
One of the most common solutions that has been introduced to almost every high school is an anti-bullying program or policy. An anti-bullying program consists of making information clear and accessible. These programs commonly have posters, fact sheets, parent resources, and provide helpful resources such as the crisis hotline. Anti-bullying policies are simply rules put in place that tell students how they are expected to behave, inform them on what unacceptable behavior consists of, and give possible consequences to certain behaviors. While this all is a step in the right direction, the impact unfortunately is little to known. “Bullying in Schools: The State of Knowledge and Effective Interventions” is a journal that explores how effective certain solutions are on bullying in schools. The article explains that these anti-bullying programs and acts have little to no influence on children and in most cases, isn’t delivered properly to the student body. “They can decide to not implement the programme as it was designed to be implemented.” (Theadvocate.org) So although there are these policies and rules and programs that are set in place, teachers tend to not properly deliver the information correctly. This could be for multiple possible reasons such as the teachers don’t have the qualifications or little training on the topic or that some teachers don’t make it a priority as it should be. This results in no effect and no assistance to those victims who desperately need it. The effects were studied by researchers; Evans, Fraser, and Cotter. They recorded the minor effects in schools that owned an anti-bullying program and policies and their records presented that out of all the studies in multiple high schools, around 45% of them resulted in little to know effect on bullying acts in schools and they also discovered that 30% of the programs had absolutely no effect on the victims of bullying. Many variables could have resulted in these discoveries but either way, almost half of the schools who take part in anti-bullying programs don’t actually get positive effects which means a majority of students continue to play a part in negative and hurtful acts or continue to be targets for bullies. Concluding that the programs that have been put in place are ineffective and there needs to be further research to find ways to tackle this issue. It is determined that you can’t expect parents to just be more involved and schools can’t continue to neglect programs and policies so there must be. So the questions are, what more can be done, what is missing from the programs, how do you alter a school’s environment to make it safe enough for all children?
The second solution was proposed by the government of the United States. Applying harassment identifiers on social media platforms. One of the most common forms of bullying is cyberbullying. Children, most school age, have found ways to attack and harass their victims even when they are not with them. Name calling, spreading rumors, distributing pictures are all forms of bullying that are present online. It is unreasonable to ask every parent of a teenager to monitor exactly what goes on online and on their phone, but, it is logical to enforce rules for social media users. Attack the problem of bullying right at the source. U.S. house of representatives documents stated the five-point action plan that U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer set in place to “to improve data and incident reporting” (U.S. House of Representatives Documents) This step of action forces social media companies such as instagram, snapchat, and facebook to add a feature that blocks any negative, bullying or harassment posts/messages. 15% of school-aged kids report being bullied through social media outlets. Although there is not an numerative stats about the situation, bullying has been tamed due to kids no longer having access or the ability to post negative things without being reported and taken down and the five-point plan also punishes those who choose to participate in the act of bullying.
The final solution that has been observed to be unsuccessful is incorporating healthy activities for the student body. This experiment was observed and recorded in the Health Research Journal, “Evaluating Healthy Schools: Perceptions of Impact Among School Based Respondents”. In theory this should have helped the school environment and for primary schools, this did positively affect their relationships but for secondary schools with teenage students, they shared that there was no change. An experiment was conducted across thirty schools including both secondary and primary. Interviews were also conducted to gather information to determine if the experiment had an effect on the schools. These activities consisted of things such as setting up a student council or redoing their playground. The focus of this was to build positive relationships between peers and between students and staff. One student that attended a school that had healthy school activities stated that, “Teachers aren’t really interested in bullying…sometimes they sort it out straight away but other times they just ignore it…” (Health Research Journal) No matter how many activities are placed in the school, it does not directly touch on bullying, therefore, the bullying continues as students don’t receive punishment.
Unfortunately, bullying has and might just always be prevalent in society as not every person will understand their actions and due to cultural differences and each person’s environment, some people will always choose to be hurtful and negative. That does not mean that these solutions can or should just be pushed aside. Schools, the government, and families should always be fighting and working towards creating a safe environment for their children. Implementing the solutions described would be forcing kids to become educated and aware of the effects bullying can have. Some solutions aren’t as effective as others but if there are chances to stop a bully from shoving that kid in the hallway or harassing that person on social media, then they need to be enforced because every bully or every victim that these solutions touch is another life that could be saved or another person who will feel a little less alone or another student attending school.
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