Bullying Article

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Bullying Prevention and Intervention

Bullying—What is it?
The term “bullying” generally is used to describe unwanted, intentional, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the bully and the victim (Olweus, 1993). The power difference between bullies and victims can take many forms. For example, a bully may be physically stronger, display more adroit interpersonal skills, have a higher social status, be more tech savvy, or have any other quality that gives them an edge or allows them to dominate a victim. Bullying can be subdivided into various forms that include physical aggression (e.g., hitting, kicking, shoving), verbal aggression (e.g., name calling, teasing, threatening), and relational aggression (e.g., social exclusion, spreading rumors). Although many people believe that boys are more likely to engage in physical forms of bullying and girls are more likely to engage in relational forms, research indicates that boys and girls both engage in relational aggression to similar degrees yet boys are more likely to engage in physical aggression (Card, Stucky, Sawalani, & Little, 2008). Lastly, with the exception of physical aggression, these forms of aggressive behavior also can be perpetrated in cyberspace (i.e., cyberbullying) and via the use of cyber technology (e.g., computers, smart phones, video games). Prevalence of Bullying, Harassment, and Peer Victimization

Research indicates that bullying is the most prevalent form of aggressive or violent behavior that occurs in schools (Ross, 2002). Even though specific prevalence estimates vary considerably across studies, large and extensive epidemiological studies generally find that 10-28% of students report being bullied by their peers and that about half of students will be bullied at some point during their educational career (Nansel, Overpeck, Pilla, Ruan, Simons-Morton, & Scheidt, 2001; Roberts, Zhang, Truman, & Snyder, 2012). In addition, research indicates that about 10 – 25% of youth report having been cyberbullied within the past year (Kowalski & Limber, 2013; Vőllink, Bolman, Eppingbroek, & Dehue, 2013). These findings, coupled with the belief that aggressive behavior is part of the human condition, have led some individuals to conclude that all schools (if not all classrooms) are affected by bullying to some degree. The prevalence and nature of bullying and cyberbullying vary by a range of school characteristics and developmental considerations of students. Research suggests that bullying behaviors are extant even in preschoolers and that bullying gradually becomes more prevalent in middle childhood and adolescence (Hanish, Kochenderfer-Ladd, Fabes, Martin, & Denning, 2004). Moreover, bullying tends to peak in middle school and then it declines as children advance through high school (Swearer, Wang, Maag, Siebecker, & Frerichs, 2012). As students mature into their adolescence, the bullying behaviors they perpetrate tend become more complex and representative of the intimate relationships they are forming. In this regard, bullying may be expressed in the form of sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, and hurtful relationship manipulation (Espelage & Holt, 2007). Thus, because of variability in the prevalence and nature of bullying behaviors within and across school settings, it is important for school districts to collect data on the prevalence and nature of bullying that occurs in their schools and local communities. Cyberbullying: An Emerging Phenomenon

Research indicates that 95% of teens (ages 12-17) regularly use the internet and 77% own a cell phone (Lenhart, 2012), which indicates that millions of youth potentially could be victimized by cyberbullying. Although cyberbullying is similar to bullying that occurs in physical settings and most youth are bullied and victimized across these settings, some unique characteristics of cyberspace influence the way that aggression is transmitted in this...
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