The problem of bullying is pervasive in most schools. Not only is it emotionally traumatic for students on the receiving end. It can often cause them severe injuries too! According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA, as many as 17 % of children in the U.S. are bullied regularly in school.
That’s why it is essential first to understand the chief causes of bullying along with those responsible for it. As a parent, you might be aware of the type of bullying taking place in your kid’s school. Let’s go deeper into the causes of bullying here!
Bullying can take many different forms and occur in many different places. If you’re a parent, teacher, or counsellor, you’ve probably heard of bullying—and maybe you’ve been a bystander or even a bully at some point. What is bullying? Why is it a problem? And how can we stop it?
Table of Contents
What is bullying?
Bullying is a pattern of aggressive behaviour carried out repeatedly against a victim. Bullying is a type of aggressive behaviour that involves a repeated pattern of intimidation, threats, and/or harassment. The behaviour is intended to hurt and can cause a range of emotions, including fear, shame, and anger. The behaviour is intended to harm and humiliate the victim. It can involve a group of people or be directed at an individual.
There are many forms of bullying that can occur, but general categories include:
Cyber bullying – This type of bullying includes texting, social media, and internet posts.
Physical bullying – This type of bullying includes hitting, shoving, and kicking.
Verbal bullying – This type of bullying can include teasing, taunting, and labelling.
Bullying can begin as early as pre-school, when children feel the need to assert their dominance over their peers. Children may be bullied by classmates, siblings or parents. Some people who have been raised in violent homes may also develop a habit of bullying others.
In school, bullying is more common in boys than girls and is often linked to a desire for social status and power. Bullying behaviour can also be a symptom of a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety disorder.
Why is bullying a problem?
Bullying has many negative effects on those who are bullied and on society as a whole. These effects are typically seen in the short term, but they can last a lifetime.
Short-term effects of bullying can include:
Fear – Fear of being targeted next time because the bullying is so upsetting and scary.
Shame – Feelings of inferiority when you are targeted by bullying because you are smaller than the others or you have something the bully wants, like a friend who “owers” the bully.
Anger – Feelings of helplessness when you can’t do anything to stop the bullying.
Long-term effects of bullying can include:
Health problems – Physical and mental illnesses can develop as a result of bullying, like anxiety and depression.
Poor school performance – Kids who are bullied are more likely to miss school and have lower GPAs.
Suicidal thoughts – Kids who are bullied are at an increased risk of having suicidal thoughts.
Self-harm – Kids who are bullied may hurt themselves out of anger or sadness.
Digging Deeper Into the Main Causes of Bullying
Bullying denotes a kind of abuse which aggressive students show on the victim(s) of bullying. The examples of bullying include threats, physical violence and emotional intimidation. And bullying occurs in a surrounding where people interact in a group; be it in high school, scouting camps and even playgrounds.
However, not everyone is born a bully. And, in most cases, their aggressive behaviour could be due to several other factors.
Below Explains Some Main Causes Of Bullying-
1. Bullying Begets Bullying: The Person Who Bullies Others Might Face the Same By Someone Else
Often, the person who bullies others could because someone else has bullied them in their past. They might have experienced bullying, maybe their parents, they’re abusing step-siblings, or even for someone in their neighbourhood.
Take the example of online or social media bullying.
Those who bully may have been bullied themselves in their real lives. Being ill-treated repeatedly, these individuals recognize violence as a means of dictating authority instead of productively helping others. And that very much contributes to triggering their bullying nature towards others.
2. To Seek Social Attention & Acknowledgement Through Shows Of Aggression
Bullying also occurs when one seeks social attention, recognition and acknowledgement. Again, recognizing acts of aggression as a useful model of dictating terms, they resort to such malicious behaviour to make everyone around aware of them.
Bullies are often lonely. They don’t have any real friends. So they try and find attention in any way they can, even if that means hampering someone’s mental health or causing them physical health problems.
What’s more, these bullies often don’t consider themselves to be tyrants. They believe their way of communicating to be an appropriate response to a harsh world which they grew up in.
Their social issues and indifferences make them turn to aggression as the only way to make their point.
3. The Person Who Bullies May Be Frustrated Or Envious Of Whom They Are Bullying
Bullying also happens if the person who bullies is envious or upset with someone in particular.
It Could Be–
- Someone who gets the best grades
- Is always at the centre of attention
- Or someone who performs well in sports or extra-curricular activities
The fact that these individuals possess specific characteristics that help them excel is what a bully wishes they had. But, because they don’t, they look to undermine the other person’s skills with acts of aggression only to level the playing field.
Another possible cause is- the person bullying is ashamed by their low intellect or lack of ability to succeed in whatever they try. They get frustrated by their failure and resultantly take it out on the other person acts of aggression.
4. The Person Who Bullies Likes To Be In Control
Individuals who have a habit of pushing others around or ill-treating them are driven by power and control. They take joy in hurting other people and showing them who’s the superior among the two.
They even believe that they wield a special kind of power to make others cower in fear and forcefully prove their worth. These bullies lack empathy, understanding, imagination and often suffer from lack of self-worth.
And when they see others getting their fair share of acknowledgement and respect, they get insecure and turn towards their aggressive nature to take control.
5. Improper Bullying Prevention Programs Of The School/Institution
Besides these above causes of bullying, another reason could be due to improper programs to prevent bullying.
Often schools are responsible for implementing a proper set of policies to protect a child who is being bullied, repeatedly.
But if a school lacks such prevention programs to prevent the adverse effects of bullying, then such incidents will never cease to exist. If anything, these oppressors will gain in confidence to continue ill-treating students with more contempt.
However, most modern-day schools are resorting to following no-tolerance behaviour towards any types of bullying. Some are even implementing bullying prevention programs to stop any ill-behaviour towards a fellow student.
They are educating students to treat other students well and even report incidents of aggression immediately upon seeing.
How can we stop it?
The best approach to stopping bullying is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The following tips can help:
Report bullying immediately. Don’t ignore the signs. If you see bullying happening, speak up.
Be a positive role model. Set a good example for kids, who are often watching and learning from you every day.
Don’t engage in bullying. Don’t participate or give encouragement to bullies.
Taking all things into consideration, understanding the primary cause(s) of bullying can be difficult. There is no one reason which brings out such aggression in their behaviour and triggers the risk factors.
At times, a person bullying may be doing it out of some personal vendetta with an individual. Or they may do it under the influence of substance abuse. But in most cases, bullies show aggression to seek control, establish their superiority and achieve some semblance of self-worth.
And so, the only way to put an end to such despicable behaviour is to address it from all sides and keeping all possible causes of bullying into consideration.
FAQs Related to – Causes of Bullying
Is bullying a social phenomenon?
Bullying is both a cause and a consequence of social phenomena. Bullying is the repeated infliction of physical or psychological pain, taunting, or intimidation that happens on an individual level. It can also happen on a group level in the form of mobbing.
Bullying is a social phenomenon that has become increasingly prevalent in the United States. It is the repeated, intentional act of aggression or abuse by one individual against another, typically in a hierarchical power imbalance.