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Bullying victimization: Separating reality from fiction

Bullying victimization: Separating reality from fiction

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Bullying victimization: Separating reality from fiction

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  1. Bullying victimization: Separating reality from fiction Kristin Carbone-Lopez, PhD Criminology and Criminal Justice University of Missouri, St. Louis

  2. Bullying victimization:

  3. overview • What is bullying? How do we define it? • How common is bullying? How many children are victims of some sort of bullying? • What are some of the risk factors for being bullied? • What are some of the consequences of bullying victimization? • How can we respond to bullying? As practitioners? As school officials? As parents?

  4. defining bullying • bullying long considered a minor issue, but taken more seriously today MYTH – bullying always involves physical aggression or violence. REALITY – bullying can include many different types of behavior, including physical violence, verbal abuse, and even “cyber” bullying.

  5. “official” definition • 3 criteria, as outlined by Olweus (1993) • intentional harm done to a person either physically, emotionally or relationally • victimization that occurs repeatedly over time • a power imbalance between victim and offender • forms include: • physical – hitting, kicking, shoving, theft, threats, etc. • verbal – teasing, derogatory comments, bad names • relational – “social aggression”, exclusion of peers, withdrawal of affection, threatening to tell lies or rumors • cyber – bullying through electronic means

  6. cyber-bullying • unique characteristics: anonymity, accessibility, punitive fears, bystanders, lack of inhibition • six common forms: • harassment – repeated rude/offensive messages • denigration – distributing false/negative information about a person • flaming – online “fighting” • impersonation – using someone else’s account to post material • outing/trickery – sharing someone’s secret information • cyber-stalking – repeated threatening messages MYTH – cyber-bullying is often a “gateway” to other forms of bullying REALITY – actually, typically the reverse; begins with face-to-face encounters and may progress to cyber forms

  7. prevalence • widely varying estimates, in part because of differing definitions • yet, consensus that it is a serious issue • 2005–06 school year there were an estimated 54.8 million students • about 1.5 million victims of nonfatal crimes at school, including 868,100 thefts and 628,200 violent crimes • this translates into some 4% of students age 12–18 reported being victimized—either physically or through theft of their belongings—at school during the previous 6 months MYTH – bullying is a small problem in our schools compared to other forms of violence REALITY – children are far more likely to experience bullying than physical violence or theft of property at school • in fact, school-based violence has decreased over the past 10 years

  8. prevalence, cont. • as many as 27% of school-age children are bullied by peers • 17% of students in grades 6-10 were bullied “sometimes” with 8% experiencing bullying once a week • approximately 1 in 10 school-age children are repeatedly victimized by peers; many more are victimized less regularly • cyber-bullying is also prevalent • a national survey of 770 youth found that 20% of youth ages 11-19 had been bullied through electronic means • an online survey of 1,378 youth found that 32% of boys and 36% of girls had been victims of cyber-bullying, generally in a chat room or by computer text message (Hinduja & Patchin, 2008)

  9. risk factors MYTH – there is a “victim personality” REALITY – not only personality characteristics, but situational and social risk factors are related to risk of bullying • individual characteristics – passivity/shyness, ADHD, size (especially weight) MYTH – boys are more likely than girls to be bullied REALITY – boys & girls are nearly equally likely to be bullied, yet experience different forms • bullying is not distributed evenly across the youth population – it varies by sex, race, and age

  10. risk factors, cont. • sex – boys at greater risk of physical forms of bullying, while girls equally or more likely to experience verbal, relational, and sexual forms of bullying • age – bullying tends to decrease with age; the use of physical aggression often changes to more passive, verbal forms • victimization may decrease more quickly for girls, except in case of relational aggression

  11. risk factors, cont. • race – inconsistent patterns • may interact with gender – girls of color may be at greater risk of all forms of bullying (Sawyer et al., 2008) • in-group bias effect – members of the minority group within diverse schools may be at greater risk • school factors • size of school, presence of graffiti, punitive teacher attitudes, inadequate adult supervision, school disadvantage/poverty

  12. consequences MYTH – bullying is a normal part of childhood and the experience builds character REALITY – evidence for consequences on emotions and behaviors MYTH – many childhood victims of bullying become violent later on REALITY – most victims of bullying are more likely to suffer in silence than retaliate

  13. consequences, cont. • school-related: • reduce willingness to attend school, lower academic achievement • psychosocial: • low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, avoidance behavior • behavioral: • poor social adjustment, behavior problems, delinquency, drug use • differences in outcome by gender, type of bullying • girls may suffer a broader range of and more negative consequences than boys

  14. consequences, cont. • Do different forms of bullying victimization have different effects? Do these effects differ by gender? (Carbone-Lopez et al., 2010) • used data collected from 15 schools in 9 cities, in 4 states; a total of1,450 students • 53% were female; average age was 12 years; 50% Hispanic, 37% white, and 13% Black • differentiate between: • physical versus indirect forms of bullying • no bullying, intermittent, and repeated victimization experiences

  15. consequences, cont. • physical forms of bullying • 67% no victimization • 28% intermittent victimization • 5% repeat victimization • indirect forms of bullying • 29% no victimization • 38% intermittent victimization • 32% repeat victimization

  16. consequences, cont. • externalizing outcomes (delinquency, gang membership) • intermittent physical victimization increased boys’ delinquency and their gang membership • both forms of bullying increased girls’ delinquency but only indirect bullying increased gang membership • internalizing outcomes (self-esteem, drug use) • intermittent physical victimization increased boys’ drug use, but bullying had no impact on boys’ self esteem • repeated indirect bullying increased girls’ drug use, but reduced their self esteem

  17. consequences, cont. MYTH – bullying only impacts the bullies and their victims REALITY – bullying has a much broader impact • bystanders and witnesses may have similar consequences; bullying may contribute to an overall feeling of non-safety, powerlessness • entire school community may be affected – a climate of fear & disrespect

  18. conclusions and implications • prevention and intervention efforts are clearly important, yet existing efforts largely focus only on physical forms of bullying recommendations for • schools • adopt evidence-based programs • reduce existing bullying problems, prevent new problems from occurring, and foster better peer relations • foster an environment conducive to reporting • teachers • learn to spot bullying, to intervene immediately, and report all incidents to administrators

  19. conclusions cont. • parents • bully-proof our children – talk with them about bullying and its effects, teach them to react appropriate • community • increase awareness in the community, bring together all stakeholders to campaign against bullying

  20. thank you