As the world is changing in a rapid pace, the value of moral seem to be diminished causing many ethical issues in our society nowadays. Bullying in its various forms is one of many ethical problems in our society in which children and teenagers have to overcome problems associated with the aggression and isolation they receive during their schooling or participation in extracurricular activities. In addition, the advance of technology and our modern society have expanded the opportunities of bullying to a degree that require immediate responses and urgent actions to be taken. As a student who had experienced the mental and emotional breakdown of being bullied during my senior year, i truly sympathize for those who have the same encounter as i did. Moreover, i acknowledge the asperity bullying can bring to an individual and how it can affect the people around them. Not only does bullying physically harm an individual, but it also arouses emotional concerns that disrupt a person’s life and leave severe traits that are tied tightly to anti-social behavior in adulthood.
School bullying is generally defined with three basic elements. Firstly, bullying occurs between peers who share unequal degree of power, in which a more powerful student performs acts of intimidating towards another weaker student. Additionally, such imbalance of power is based on numerous factors such as age, popularity in school, ethnicity and physical size (Rigby, 2003; Junoven, 2005). Secondly, acts of bullying are done consciously and intentionally; whereby a bully intend to harm an individual physically and mentally (Scarpaci, 2006). Third, the performance of bullying is categorized into two types: direct and indirect. Direct form of bullying is performed by physical violence such as hitting, striking, kicking or shoving and by verbal bullying including spreading rumors, picking on, name-calling or teasing. Indirect form involves peer pressure, isolation or exclusion which can generate loneliness or depression that cause emotional breakdown. Furthermore, chances of bullying has been expanded by the advance of technology in our modern society; the access of internet and social networks has established cyber bullying (Victim Support Org.) Bullying in schools is prevalent among students ages between 12 to 18, who are in their stages of adolescence (National Center for Education Statistic). This indicates that bullying usually happens in middle and high schools, and among teenagers whose mindsets are not fully developed or sophisticated enough to acknowledge the negative effects bullying occupies on both the bullies and the victims.
On an individual level, the attempt of bullying can be aroused by the need of power and control – many children with typically spontaneous attitude enjoy the feeling of controlling over the others; also they have a sense of success when weaker ones are surrendered by their presence (Olweus, 2003). In addition, children who face history of trauma, depression or family problems are more likely to become victims of bullying. Many typical bully-victims have negative thoughts about themselves and troubles in socializing and solving problems in their interaction with others. Additionally, children who come from a poor family background or community life can have bad peer status and they are more likely to be influenced by others (Clayton, 2010).
On a national level, society can influence how children develop biased perspectives on racial stereotype. Discrimination is still one of the issue in modern society; and children who are exposed to a racist environment during their growth may establish negative views on their peers who are in different race, religion or from a minority group (McKown, 2009). Such concept on how to view people filter these children’s mindset at a young age, forming extreme attitudes towards those who are in different race. In addition, our society manifest the bullying epidemic by macroeconomic problems, which leads to domestic violence that directly affect a child’s growth, performance at schools and interaction with others. Macroeconomic – including national, regional, and global economies – refers to the field of economics such as national income, inflation and changes in unemployment. The link between macroeconomic and youth violence is family function. Studies have shown that there are numerous potential ways that adverse economic conditions that can affect family functioning that could lead to increases in the likelihood of violent behavior among parents and youth (Rosenfeld, Edberg, Fang, Florence). Additionally, bullying and domestic violence are cyclical – in other words, if a bully learns that his/her negative treatment to others has no consequences, they will believe that such behavior is accurate in all of their other relationships including relationship with partners or spouses (Kothari)
Bullying is acknowledged as an epidemic that is neglected around the world. It has severe implications not only on the victims but also those who perpetrate bullying. A single student who bullies might cause numerous negative outcomes on the students they bully, students who are bystanders, and the overall climate of the school and community. The most considerable concerns of bullying on an individual are academic problems, psychological difficulties and social relationship problems. The psychological impacts on the victims of bully are depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and isolation (Olweus). In addition, those who are bullied can display high levels of emotion that indicate vulnerability and low levels of resilience. All of theses factors can potentially lead to low academic outcomes, including low attendance and completion rates because the victims feel disconnected to school (Swearer, Espelage, Vaillancourt and Hymel, 2010). The 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association had composed a research on the link between bullying and low scores on standardized tests in High schools in Virginia, the study found that school wide passing rates on standardized exams were 3 percent to 6 percent lower in schools where students reported a more severe bullying climate (Lacey and Cornell, 2011). This piece of evidence indicates that pervasive bullying can drag down the academic performance of students in schools because they can be distracted from school work and the emotional impacts can lower their motivation in better school achievements and academic rewards.
In regard to psychological difficulties, teenagers usually seek independence, reject any assistance and attempt to tackle any problems by themselves. However, their mindset and common sense to deal with complicated situations of bullying are not sophisticated enough at this age. Therefore, they soon incorporate the problem within themselves and form a sense of helplessness and disappointment; this then results in emotional disorders. When the symptoms of negative changes in psychology are ignored, the anxiety can begin to manifest itself as psychosomatic symptoms such as headache, abdominal pain, bedwetting and sleeping problems (Nobullying.com, 2015). Studies carried out by Yale University pointed out that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. This clearly shows that there is a complicated connection between bullying and suicidal thoughts, whereby depression and insecurity trigger the intention to kill oneself off. Furthermore, students who intentionally abuse others are also responsible for the consequences. Possible scenarios of kids who bully others are that they may get into fights, vandalize properties, and behave inappropriately towards all of their peers and teachers – which then eventually leads to circumstances of being suspended, dropping out of school and becoming unemployed in their future. Also, observers of bullying may feel that they are in an unsafe environment, therefore they can be reluctant to attend school and possibly develop guilt for not reacting to what they have witnessed. Moreover, they may establish fear and tension that they might be become the next target (The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).
While it may seem like a personal matter, the extent of bullying is expanded to a national level and rapidly becomes a problem that affects our whole community, neighborhood and society. Any type of bullying or harassment can erode the confidence within the whole community, whereby one type of culture or individual from one group is not welcomed to share in community events and discriminated in certain community activities and projects (Wright, 2010). In regard to this, such exclusion provokes the community to not appreciate and celebrate diversity. If one individual or group is discriminated against another, there are no winners. When different parties or points of view separate each other rather than come together, our society has an imbalance of power (Wright, 2010). Bullying in its most devastating forms also increases the risks of criminal behaviors, gun violence, spousal abuse, alcoholism and anti-social personality that demoralize our society with social insecurity and disorder.
A school’s response to bullying should not start at the point at which a child has been a victim of bullying. The best method schools can manipulate this is to have better approach by identifying the reasons for the conflicts between students and then develop strategies to prevent the growth of these conflicts at the first place. This involves having conversations with pupils, understanding what’s going on in the learning environment, organizing effective programs, events, project or campaign that promote cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and equality and help to create generosity and support among each other
In addition, schools should examine the motivations behind acts of the bully, therefore apply fair and consistent disciplinary measure. School or community activities should also openly discuss social problems that motivate bullying – including discrimination resulted from religion, ethnicity, disability, gender or sexuality – which help to steer the false thoughts and ways youth view their peers to a correct direction. Nevertheless, our community as a whole cannot undertake this issue unless there are contribution from each and every individual who are teachers, school staff, parents and students themselves. Therefore, practical anti-bullying policies in school should be strictly reinforced by offering effective staff training. These policies can only be powerful when teachers and school staff recognize the principles and purpose of the policy, ways to resolve problems, where to seek support and understanding the needs of students who require special educational needs, disability, homosexual or transgender (“Preventing and tackling bullying – advice for headteachers, staff and government bodies”, 2014). A reality case is that there is a video posted on Youtube displaying how a bus monitor, Karen Klein, from a New York school being viciously bullied by students during a ride home. The video has immediately went viral and received 700,000 dollar support from more than 30,000 people of 84 countries, from which Klein took a portion to launch an anti-bullying foundation (Huffington post, 2012). The news indicates that episodes of bullying happens not only among students but also among the students and school staffs. However, the problem is later tackled by not only the victim or the bullies themselves, but by the voice and support of the whole community. As the matter of fact, schools are encouraged to collaborate with a wider community by developing partnership with specialized agencies or international organizations who are expert in dealing with certain forms of bullying and can possibly prevent bullying by providing children a safe and healthy environment.
Bullying represents the bad conscience of our society by the acts of discriminating and criticizing a person in some of the most aggressive ways. From the researches i had composed, i realized the negative ideological, moral and cultural lifestyle the young generation enhances has made childhood bullying becomes even more difficult to control and to eliminate. In fact, even though the education system and parents have maximized their efforts to provide a safe environment inside and outside of school, bullying continuously increase among students. I think the extent of bullying has been expanded to a degree that requires urgent responses and actions to be taken; it can possibly destroy the moral of our society and leave traits our next generations. The positive side is that we’re getting closer to identifying the causes, now we should start to address the consequences more directly and limit these attacks.