Bullying is one of the most critical social problems affecting children and adolescents in today society (Evans, & Smokowski, 2016). It has become a widespread phenomenon with an alarming level of violence (Huggins, 2016). 27.8 percent of children in the United States, grades from 6 to 10 have been victims of bullying (as cited in Evans, & Smokowski, 2016). 41 percent of students described being victims of relational bullying and 36.5 percent stated being verbally bullied (as cited in Evans, & Smokowski, 2016). Alarming estimates indicated that between 70 percent to 85 percent of students in the united states are involved in bullying as a victim, perpetrator or bystander (as cited in Evans, & Smokowski, 2016). Researchers have found that there is a strong relationship between bullying and suicides. The youth violence prevention resources reported that there is an increasing number of bullying cases that have ended in suicide (Youth Violence, n.d). Per Center for Disease Control, the second leading cause of death among the age group 10 to 34 years old is suicide and it was also the cause of death of approximately 6,078 people among the age group 14 to 24 in a year (Bullying suicide statistics, 2016). Studies conducted at Yale University showed that victims of bullying are 7 to 9 percent at higher risk to have suicidal thoughts (Bullying suicide statistics, 2016). Other studies conducted in Britain suggested among all suicide committed by youth, at least half are correlated to bullying (Bullying suicide statistics, 2016). The National Center for Educational Statistics showed that 1 of 3 students indicated being bullied during the 2014 school year (Bullying suicide statistics, 2016). The National Crime Victimization showed that approximately 64.5 percent of children indicated occurrences of bullying approximately twice in the same year, 18.5 percent reported incidents of bullying as much as two times per month and 7.8 percent indicated incidents of bullying every day.
Among all types of aggression, bullying is positioned with a wide range of other types of assault and abuse against children. In general, all types of aggression include the use of a negative, disproportionate, dominant power, to dominate, conquer, control and humiliate another person. Even though bullying and aggression share similar impact on individuals, there are critical differences between the two (Erdogdu, 2016). The literature argued that the most important difference is that in bullying there is a need for the imbalance of power and willingness to offend and hurt the victim on a continuous basis (Erdogdu, 2016). Bullying, in general, has been defined in many ways. Bullying has been defined as a repetitive intentional act of aggression against one or many victims who cannot defend themselves or possess less power than their perpetrator (Lazuras, Barkoukis, & Tsorbatzoudis, 2017). Smith and Sharp (1994) defined bullying as “systematic exploitation of force” (as cited in Erdogdu, 2016). Others have defined it as a “people or group of people’s saying bad and noxal words repeatedly and upsetting the victim” (as cited in Erdogdu, 2016). Bullying in children has been defined by Olweus (1973) as “one or more than one student’s constant negative actions towards another student” (as cited in Erdogdu, 2016). According to the literature, those actions include physical contact, gestures and mimics and deliberate exclusion from a group (Erdogdu, 2016).
There are two forms of bullying: physical bullying and psychological bullying (Lazuras et al., 2017; Erdogdu, 2016). Physical bullying has been categorized as hitting, pushing and kicking someone whereas psychological bullying refers to social aggression and relational aggression that involve abuse (verbal), calling names, threatening gestures, making malicious phone calls to the home of the victim, segregation from groups and spreading gossips about the victim (Erdogdu, 2016). According to the literature, psychological bullying is less detrimental than physical bullying (Erdogdu, 2016). However, with the progression of technology, cyberbullying has become the new form of bullying among adolescents (Lazuras et al., 2017). Cyberbullying is a type psychological bullying that refers to “an intentional aggressive act by an individual or a group, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and overtime against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself” (as cited in Grigg, 2010; Lazuras et al., 2017).
According to the literature, bullies and victims tend to experience the same detrimental effects of bullying (Lazuras et al., 2017; Evans, & Smokowski, 2016). Researches on the topic have shown that bullying children are more like to exhibit psychosomatic symptoms, depression, anxiety, poor academic performance, withdrawal, and social isolation and suicidal thoughts and attempt (Lazuras et al., 2017; Evans, & Smokowski, 2016; Erdogdu, 2016). Other studies have found a relationship between substance abuse, emotional dysregulation, physical health problems and bullying (Erdogdu, 2016).
Given the alarming numbers of young people involved in bullying and the negative outcome of this engagement, it is important that schools attempt to prevent bullying by implementing effective interventions (Evans, & Smokowski, 2016). On the other hand, Englander (2011) emphasized that educating the youth regarding how they handle things when they are angry with another person is important to prevent conflict and bullying situations. In addition, it is important to teach them how to be a good person on the computer is just as important as teaching them about being a good person face-to-face (Englander, 2011). Furthermore, Englander (2011) also recommended connecting with the youth on an emotional level.
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