Many underage children experience numerous challenges that have the potential to affect their future goals in life. Bullying is one of such predicaments that can take different shapes depending on age, location, and race. Psychologists and experts in child development recommend the introduction of superior measures to identify possible sources of abuse and prevent them before they can affect the victim. This discussion provides a detailed analysis of various examples of bullying and some of the evidence-based strategies to prevent malpractice.
Examples of Bullying
For many years, name-calling and physical abuse remained the common types of bullying that many children had to go through. Those insulted or slapped could report the malpractice to the right people depending on the situation, such as parents, teachers, relatives, or guardians (deLara, p. 24). However, the nature of this malpractice has evolved due to the changes recorded in the world today. A proper understanding of the unique types of bullying that many children stand a chance to go through is one of the best strategies towards providing personalized support or protection.
Verbal bullying is a unique form of abuse whereby perpetrators use words to insult or call the targeted individuals bad names. This misbehavior is usually aimed at controlling or gaining unnecessary power over the helpless victim (deLara, p. 49). The child will feel disempowered and demeaned, thereby being unable to complete his or her tasks successfully. Swearer and Hymel (348) indicate that many children with learning disabilities or physical
deformities tend to have increased chances of facing this form of bullying. Professionals and teachers in learning institutions should be ready to monitor this malpractice.
A new form of bullying that has become prevalent is known as relational bullying. This example remains undetectable since the abuser relies on emotional manipulation to hurt or interfere with the victim’s social position or standing. Some of the common approaches for pursuing this form of bullying include the use of rumors to defame others. According to deLara, such type of bullying was more common in girls than in boys (p. 56). This knowledge can make it possible for different caregivers and educationists to find a befitting solution.
Due to the proliferation of the Internet, more young people are today using handheld devices and computers to chat and connect with each other. This new trend has presented additional opportunities for cyber-bullying. Adults can decide to stalk or harass a child on the other end. The common strategies individuals pursue to bully children over the Internet include posting their dirty images, making frequent threats or abuses, and sharing hurtful texts (Swearer and Hymel, p. 348). This has become a major problem because it is difficult to locate abuser.
Sexual bullying is another malpractice whereby some adults or fellow children engage in humiliating, hurtful, or repetitive actions that undermine the sexual worth of the victim. Some can use vulgar language, sexual symbols, disrespectful comments, and pornographic content to bully others (Swearer and Hymel, p. 349). They can go further to target the appearances, developmental stages, and body parts to achieve their goals. If uncontrolled, this form of misbehavior can result in rape or other forms of sexual abuse.
Finally, racial bullying has become common whereby some adults or even children capitalize on the existing cultural differences to name-call, assault, or abuse individuals from minority backgrounds. This form can be expanded to include any prejudice founded on a person’s religion or nationality. This malpractice is also associated with the above types of bullying (deLara, p. 48). This analysis means that some children might experience several types of bullying from a single perpetrator. Such misbehaviors tend to have both long-term and short-term consequences on the child, including reduced self-esteem, poor psychological and emotional development, and prolonged disillusionment.
The nature and consequences of bullying can become powerful reasons for all stakeholders to implement appropriate strategies to protect more children from this malpractice and make it possible for them to succeed in their lives. First, a multifaceted approach is essential whereby teachers, guardians, parents, and members of the public collaborate to identify the potential sources and types of bullying recorded at home and in school (Offrey and Rinaldi, p. 252). This approach will ensure that wrongdoers are reproached while victims are encouraged to share their experiences and pains. This practice will discourage abusers from engaging in such misbehaviors.
Second, parents and guardians need to educate and guide their underage children about the dangers of the Internet and how they can suffer from cyber-bullying. They need to avoid sharing their devices with them or monitoring the manner in which they utilize them (Swearer and Hymel, p. 349). Those who encounter any form of abuse should inform the relevant people in order to get the needed support. The practice will minimize such cases significantly.
Third, a code of conduct is needed both at home and in school since many adults are usually the primary abusers of children. Offrey and Rinaldi argue that many victims of rape and sexual abuse report parents, teachers, and guardians as the major perpetrators (p. 253). The introduced policy will guide and inform more people about the disciplinary measures associated with any form of bullying targeting underage children. Similarly, adults need to identify young individuals engaging in such malpractices and reproach them before the situation gets out hand. These efforts will transform the experiences of more individuals and make it easier for them to pursue their goals.
Finally, parents and guardians need to monitor the changes in their children’s moods, attitudes, personalities, and involvement in various activities. A withdrawn or unhappy individual might be a sign of psychological problem or associated with bullying. This evidence-based practice will guide those involved to realize the challenge and provide the relevant solution in a timely manner. Since bullying tends to be a continuous process, defining a victim at the initial stages can be the first step towards providing high-quality help and support (Offrey and Rinaldi, p. 254). Parents need to liaise with their colleagues and teachers to empower the affected children while at the same time finding the best punitive measures for those who bully their classmates. These measures will change the situation and make it possible for more children to achieve their educational and personal development goals.
The above discussion has proved bullying as a major problem many children have to go through at home, in the neighborhood, or in school. This malpractice takes different shapes, including verbal abuse, name calling, physical assault, cyber-bullying, and sexual mistreatment. A proper understanding of these forms can guide different stakeholders to collaborate, identify perpetrators, and provide the intended support to all victims. Such an approach will make t possible them to overcome this challenge and eventually become successful members of their respective societies.
- deLara, Ellen W. Bullying Scars: The Impact on Adult Life and Relationships. Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Offrey, Laura D., and Christina M. Rinaldi. “Parent–Child Communication and Adolescents’ Problem-Solving Strategies in Hypothetical Bullying Situations.” International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, vol. 22, no. 3, 2017, pp. 251-267.
- Swearer, Susan M., and Shelley Hymel. “Understanding the Psychology of Bullying: Moving Toward a Social-Ecological Diathesis-Stress Model.” American Psychologist, vol. 70, no. 4, 2015, pp. 344-353.