Bullying is an aggressive pursuit of one of the persons in a collective by other individuals of the collective or part of it. Bullying destroys a person’s self-esteem; then, a plethora of complexes are formed at the bullying object. The child begins to believe that he or she has deserved a bad attitude towards him- or herself. It might be assumed that every child can be such a victim as bullies seek any pretext for bullying – something that makes the child different from others (in any direction). With the above facts in mind, it should be claimed that bullying hinders a child’s development to a great extent. Hence, an investigation on bullying relationships allowing to gain an in-depth understanding of this phenomenon is a relevant action that may be undertaken by scholars.
Introduction to selected article
Rambaran, Dijkstra, and Veenstra (2019) claim that they conduct longitudinal research on the interaction between friendships and relationships when the bullying process takes place in childhood. The primary purpose of the article is to explore bullying as a network relation founded on the exact nominations for bullying. The scholars provide four hypotheses that they aim to examine throughout the investigation. First, they expect that if two children bully the same person, they start to be friends. Second, if a friend tends to bully someone, the individual will bully the same child. Third, due to the fact that bullied children are avoided as friends, they might establish a friendship. Forth, if two children are friends and another person bullies one of them, the one who is not victimized will gradually avoid this friendship.
The sample group of the investigation was of 481 children in 19 classrooms. This sample might be defined as a multi-age one as it consisted of children aged from 8 to 12 years. All of the participants were students in elementary educational establishments located in the Netherlands. It should also be noted that there was an equable allocation of boys and girls in the groups (49.5% girls).
The crucial points of the investigation procedure might be described as follows. Children were asked to fill a form via the Internet during their studying hours. The teachers were managing this process, helping the participants to answer questions when it was necessary. These teachers were acknowledged on how to collect the data correctly; moreover, the assistance of the investigators was available via phone and e-mail. At the beginning of the question form, children got information regarding the goals of the study. They could not discuss the given questions with each other, and their answers remained confidential. The participants and their parents were provided with the option not to take part in the study. Nevertheless, the participation rate could be considered significantly high and imposing.
Before the launch of answering the questions, the students were got acquainted with the exhaustive explanation of what bullying is. Some examples were provided to ensure a deep understanding of the term. After the above actions, the children were asked to indicate whether they were bullied by their classmates or not. If the answer was positive, they were given the list of all the students to note who were the bullies. A similar procedure was conducted regarding the identifying of the best friends of the participants.
It was necessary to implement an appropriate and coherent method in the study. The scholars examined their hypotheses, applying “longitudinal bivariate social network analysis using SIENA (Simulation Investigation for Empirical Network Analysis)” (Rambaran et al., 2019, p. 4). Such a method allowed indicating the fact that, on average, the children tended to have five friends and two persons who were bullying.
Then, Rambaran et al. (2019) figured out that two of four hypotheses do not reflect reality. The method of the investigation supported the claims that the friendship would be established between two bullies, as well as that children begin bullying the targets of their friends. On the other hand, the ideas that friendly relations would take place between the victims of bullying and that children would be bullied by their friends’ bullies were not confirmed by the empirical data. The authors’ primary interpretation of their findings might be as follows. They consider their study as a contribution to the comprehension of bullying as a group process as friends have a substantial part in this phenomenon.
The selected article might be considered as a consistent and significant study as it provides remarkable empirical data and arguments. The content of the investigation provides the audience with the opportunity to realize the peculiarities of bullying among children. It might be the most remarkable feature of the research as nowadays, plenty of innocent young people become the victims of the process discussed.
Hence, the contributions of this article may help to identify the roots of bullying in schools and organize the studying environment that will hinder bullying development. Then, the report contains no ethical issues as the authors made the participants know in which study they were taking part and made it possible to opt to take part in it or not. The main limitation of the research is that bullying may also occur outside of school. Thus, the scholars reasonably mention it and propose to investigate the issue within the broader scope in further studies.
Rambaran, J. A., Dijkstra, J. K., & Veenstra, R. (2019). Bullying as a group process in childhood: A longitudinal social network analysis. Child Development, 0(0), 1–17. Web.
This study investigates the dynamic interplay between bullying relationships and friendships in a sample of 481 students in 19 elementary school classrooms (age 8–12 years; 50% boys). Based on a relational framework, it is to be expected that friendships would be formed when two children bullied the same person and that children would start to bully the victims of their friends. Similarly, it is to be expected that friendships would be formed when two children were victimized by the same bully and that children would become victimized by the bullies of their friends. Longitudinal bivariate social network analysis supported the first two hypotheses but not the latter two. This study provides evidence for group processes in bullying networks in childhood.