The Fight Against Bullying
by thaus1 on April 14, 2014 - 4:11pm
Bullying is a growing problem throughout the entire nation. It takes on many forms and occurs in several different contexts. The effects that bullying has on its victims can be tremendous and not only include physical harm, but can damage the emotional well-being of the individual. The research that is described by Ockerman et al. (2013) in their article, “From the School Yard to Cyber Space,” shows that bullying is very prevalent within adolescence and is a situation that needs to be controlled.
According to an article by Ockerman et al., (2013) research has found that 30% of middle school students report moderate to frequent involvement in bullying, and 19% self-reported being cyberbullied 2-3 times within the previous month. In their study, the researchers used 352 middle school aged students in grades 5th through 8th. A questionnaire, the Adolescent Peer Relations Instrument – Bully and Target (APRI-BT) was administered to assess each student’s involvement in both traditional bullying and cyberbullying. The results showed an alarming rate of bullying behaviors that many of the children take part in. 61.8% of students reported that they made jokes about another student (name-calling, teasing, etc.,) 49.8% said that they ignored other students by pretending not to see them or turning their backs to them. Also, 47% of students reported that they had been pushed or shoved by another student and 32% said that they had been hit or kicked hard. The results of the cyberbullying questions showed that 17.9% had sent nasty jokes via the instant messaging or text message about another student, and 8.2% reported using a cell phone to take an embarrassing picture of another student and sending it to someone. It is clear from these results that a large portion of students take part in bullying behaviors, whether as a victim or a perpetrator.
The purpose of “From the School Yard to Cyber Space” by Ockerman et al., (2013) was to assess the prevalence of both traditional bullying and cyberbullying within middle school aged children. The article also discusses prevention and intervention strategies to reduce bullying, which I found to be very informative. Counselors, families and administrators all play a vital role in the behaviors that kids engage in. School counselors are educated individuals who are equipped with the skills to deal with these types of adolescent behaviors. As the article states, counselors can educate students, parents and teachers about bullying and anti-bullying policies. Parents also play an important role, because it has been shown that children are less likely to take part in aggressive activity if they have a secure relationship with their parents and a stable life at home. Overall, I think that this study did a good job of applying measures in order to find the prevalence of bullying within this group of students. However, it does not have great external validity, as it would be hard to generalize this data to the larger population. Participants were used from only four private schools the Midwest. Further research could use a larger sample from both private and public schools across the nation. Additional research could also include the effects that bullying has on victims, including self-harm and suicide rates, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Ockerman, M. S., Kramer, C., & Bruno, M. (2013). From the school yard to cyber space: A pilot study of bullying behaviors among middle school students. Research In Middle Level Education Online, 37(6), 1-18.