Bullying

What is Bullying?

What is Bullying?

“Bullying is defined as unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.” Department of Education & Skills ‘Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ (Dublin: 2013) Download a copy HERE

“Bullying is a behavioural problem which affects the lives of thousands of school children and their families. The humiliation, fear, frustration and social isolation and loss of self esteem which children experience when bullied results in absenteeism from school, poor or deteriorating schoolwork, personality change, illness, depression and unfortunately sometimes suicide. Bullying knows no boundaries of age, sex or socio-economic background. It can take many forms; it can be short term or continue over long periods, even years.”
Anti-Bullying Centre, ‘Bullying at School; Key Facts” (Dublin: 2001)

“Cruel, abusive behaviour which is persistent and pervasive and causes suffering to individuals which is severe and sustained”
K. Rigby, ‘Bullying in Schools and What to do About It’ (London: Kingsley, 1997)

“Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while they indicate a problem that needs to be sorted out, do not constitute bullying. However, where there is an imbalance and abuse of power and the behaviour is systematic and ongoing, it is bullying”
Sticks and Stones Handbook, (Dublin: 1995)

“Bullying can cause physical, mental, psychological, emotional and mental harm to a person or group. It is premeditated, pervasive, persistent, and cruel treatment which is meant to hurt or harm, and is enjoyed by the bullying perpetrator.”
David Fitzgerald, ‘Bullying in our Schools; Understanding and Tackling the Problem’ (Dublin: 1999)

For Bullying Behaviours click HERE

Bullying behaviours

Ways in which people can bully
The examples given are by no means exhaustive, but are here to increase your understanding of each type of bullying. In our workshops we look at the behaviours that someone bullying engages in, that’s not to exclude specific types of bullying such as homophobic, racist, or other prejudice based bullying but the behaviours are the same even if the motivation differs. Helping children and young people to examine their behaviour, and how that is hurting someone else is the first step in tackling bullying. It’s also vitally important that the child who is being bullied understands what is, and is not, acceptable behaviour, helping them to see that what someone is doing to them is not “a joke” or to be tolerated, that it is in fact bullying is vital to their self-esteem.

• Verbal Bullying: Teasing, jeering, name calling, slagging, mimicking.
Can leave children feeling angry, frightened and powerless. If children are unable to share their feelings with someone else, verbal bullying can leave them emotionally bruised and physically exhausted. Their powers of concentration can suffer, adversely affecting their capacity for learning. Verbal attacks can be of highly personal and sexual nature. They can be directed at the child’s family, culture, race or religion. Malicious rumours are particularly insidious forms of verbal bullying.

• Physical Bullying: Something that is physically done to an individual, or their belongings.
Fighting, hitting, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing. It’s often written off as ‘horseplay,’ ‘pretend’ or ‘just a game’ when challenged. While children can and do play roughly, in the case of bullying be aware that these ‘games’ can be a precursor to vicious physical assaults. Both boys and girls indulge in physical bullying, boys sometimes more so because it’s socially acceptable for them to be more physically aggressive, and their games and sports can allow for greater physical contact. There’s a misconception that physical bullying has to hurt, it doesn’t. It can be the “accidental” bumping into someone in the corridor, crowding them at the locker, invading their personal space. It is something that someone physically does to another.

• Gesture Bullying: Threatening signs, dirty looks.
There are many different forms of non-verbal threatening gestures that can convey intimidatory and frightening messages, for example gesturing a gun to a head or gesturing slitting a throat, or giving a “stare”. It’s very important to recognise the power of gesture bullying, often adults can be dismissive of a child who reports that another child “is looking at me” but it’s a very easy way to maintain a constant level of threat against another child, and it’s so subtle it can be happening right under a teacher’s nose.

• Exclusion Bullying: Leaving someone out, ignoring them on purpose.
This is particularly hurtful because it isolates the child from his/her peer group and is very hard for the child to combat as it directly attacks their self-confidence and self-image. Our approach at Sticks and Stones is to activate the group dynamic, getting them to empathise with their fellow classmates. This approach is vital in tackling exclusion bullying, otherwise it’s very hard for  an individual child to break the pattern of exclusion by themselves.

• Extortion Bullying: Getting someone to do something they don’t want to do. Threatening, Forcing, Blackmailing.
Younger children are particularly vulnerable to extortion bullying. Demands for money, possessions or equipment, lunch vouchers or food may be made, often accompanied by threats. Children may also be dared or forced to steal from the school leaving them at the mercy of the bully and open to further intimidation.

• Cyber-Bullying: in an ever-more technologically advanced world, a new strain of bullying has emerged amongst children, which utilises web pages, on-line gaming, emails and text messaging to abuse, intimidate and attack others, either directly or indirectly (for example spreading rumours).

For more information on Cyber Bullying, click HERE

CyberBullying advice for children & young people.

CYBERBULLYING  CYBERSAFETY

Advice for children and young people – Staying Safe Online

WMDS

 

BULLYING is repeated behaviour that is intended to hurt.

 

CYBERBULLYING is bullying that happens through electronic means – phone, Internet etc. It can be through texting, social networking sites like Facebook, email, instant messaging, online gaming, any forum or site where you interact with other people.

REMEMBER …

  • You do not deserve to be bullied, by any method.
  • No one deserves to be bullied.
  • You have the right to ask for help.
  • You have the responsibility to treat others fairly online.

 

PROTECTING YOURSELF ONLINE

New technologies and the Internet are great but it’s important to protect yourself when you’re online. Just as you wouldn’t put a photo of yourself in the local shop window for everyone to gawk at don’t allow strangers to access your personal information. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your online identity.

  • Set your profile to private
  • Don’t accept “friend” requests from randomers – strangers. Facebook “friends” aren’t real friends, so what if some of your classmates have hundreds of FB friends, better to have one or two good friends in real life than hundreds of stranger “friends” online.
  • NEVER put your mobile phone, date of birth or home address on your profile – EVEN if it’s set to private
  • NEVER give personal identifying information online to a stranger that you’ve never met in real life
  • NEVER arrange to meet someone online that you don’t know in real life. If you do want to become friends with someone offline make sure to tell an adult you trust before you make any arrangements to meet.
  • If someone is genuine they won’t put pressure on you to do something you don’t want to do.
  • Remember WWW stands for World Wide Web, potentially that’s who could be looking at your page if you don’t protect it
  • Don’t post photos online that you don’t want shared with the world
  • Don’t use a personal photo as your avatar or profile pic
  • Don’t use your full name in chat rooms, use a nickname instead
  • Make sure your password is a random selection of letters and numbers, e.g. hnLiS49. NEVER use passwords that someone can easily guess, like your name, your pet’s name, date of birth etc.
  • If banks and large global corporations can have their very sophisticated and secure websites hacked, what makes you think your page can’t be accessed by a hacker, or even a friend who guesses your password.
  • Just as you have a right to have your privacy respected so do your friends – THINK before you post that comment or photo that seems funny at the time but might really upset them.
  • If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face DON’T say it online.
  • Remember what you post can remain online forever – don’t let a stupid comment or argument with a friend come back to haunt you later in life. At Sticks and Stones we know of at least one student who was turned down for work experience because of her online activity. That’s just work experience! Think about when you will be looking for a college place or job – do you really want your current online activity to spoil your future opportunities in life?

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU’RE BEING CYBERBULLIED

  • Don’t reply, don’t respond, and don’t get your friends to respond either.
  • Tell someone – your older brother or sister, a parent, an adult you trust – a teacher, a relative, your child-minder. It’s good to talk to your friends but you must tell someone who can help you, and that’s probably an adult.
  • Don’t delete the message, even if it’s very upsetting. Everything that’s posted online or sent electronically, or texted can be traced. If it’s online take a screen shot as evidence.
  • Don’t keep reading and re-reading it, you’ll only upset yourself more.
  • Sometimes friends bully friends but don’t automatically presume the post or text was sent by the person it came from – their profile might have been hacked. Sticks and Stones have heard of several children and young people who have had their identity stolen. Just don’t reply.
  • Report the message or post. Most social networking sites have reporting tools, and you can block the sender. An adult can help you with this.
  • If you report the offence to the Gardai the phone company or service provider can investigate it properly

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CYBERBULLIED SOMEONE 

  • Remove the offending comments, posts, photographs.
  • Apologise to the person you bullied, and be prepared to accept that they may be too hurt to accept your apology.
  • If you bullied in public, consider apologising in public – post a comment on your page, and on the other persons page if you aren’t already blocked.
  • To protect your online reputation for the future delete your profile completely after you’ve apologised.

WHERE CAN I GET ADVICE?

SPUNOUT have an excellent Online Safety Hub

Here’s some advice from FACEBOOK if you’re being bullied on their site.

Learn about GOOGLE’s security and privacy tools, how to protect your device from criminals, preventing identity theft and more… GOOGLE’s Good to Know

WHO CAN I TURN TO FOR HELP?

There are helplines that provide a friendly listening ear and can offer advice. No one will think that you are silly for asking for help, everyone, young or old, needs help with their problems from time to time.

Contact CHILDLINE
By Phone: Call 1800 666 666
By Email: Log on to www.childline.ie
One 2 one live chat: Log on to www.childline.ie
By text: Text ‘talk’ to 50101

TEENLINE
National Freephone number 1800 833 634
open 7pm to 10pm, 7 days a week
email info@teenline.ie

SAMARITANS
24 hour support
PH: 1850 60 90 90.

AWARE
phone 1890 303 302
or email wecanhelp@aware.ie

If you prefer to meet someone and talk face to face PIETA HOUSE  is a Suicide and Self Harm Crisis Centre, offering an accessible, confidential and free-of-charge counselling service for children and adults.

Effects of bullying

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF BULLYING?

  • stress
  • reduced ability to concentrate
  • lack of motivation and energy
  • poor or deteriorating school work
  • anxiety about going to school
  • loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • lack of appetite or ‘comfort eating’
  • depression
  • aggressive eruptions/tantrums
  • withdrawn, unhappy demeanour
  • a feeling of isolation, betrayal and hopelessness
  • development of nervous ‘tics’, stammering or stuttering
  • problems with sleeping; bedwetting; nightmares
  • headaches, stomach and bowel disorders
  • indications of alcohol, drug or substance abuse
  • attempted suicide
  • inability to attend school, panic attacks
Prejudiced based Bullying

Prejudice, or identity, based bullying targets children and young people because of who they are or who they are perceived to be. This can be on the grounds of age, disability, gender (including gender identity), race, membership of the travelling community, religion or belief and sexual orientation. Children and young people can also be bullied for being perceived to belong to one or more of these groups, or for being associated with a member of one or more of these groups. It includes Racist and Homophobic Bullying.

 

Should Prejudiced based Bullying be treated any differently?
The rising anti-bullying tide will lift all boats, however when the target of bullying is a child who is already discriminated against, or is in a minority that leaves them open to discrimination, then that situation requires additional focus. By discrimination we mean when somebody is treated less favourably than others because of a specific personal attribute such as their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, or membership of the travelling community or for any other reason. Whether that discrimination is actively present in their school or not, once it is generally accepted to exist in wider society it must be acknowledged and addressed in school to ensure it does not fuel bullying behaviour.

“Safe for Everyone”

With support from The Community Foundation for Ireland we have been resourced to devise a workshop that specifically addresses homophobic bullying in Schools. We strongly recommend that schools access the excellent resources that GLEN  and DES have produced in conjunction with the education partners

The schools we work with that are most successful in addressing bullying are also schools that actively promote a respect for diversity.

Alterophobic based Bullying
This paper from Dr. Stephen James Minton of TCD, Dublin is the first study to focus explicitly on “alterophobia”, and provides the first empirical evidence on “alterophobic bullying”

Signs of being bullied

TELL-TALE SIGNS OF BEING BULLIED

  • unexplained bruising, cuts or damaged clothing
  • visible signs of anxiety or distress – refusal to say what is wrong
  • unexplained changes in mood or behaviour e.g. becoming withdrawn; clinging; attention-seeking; aggressive behaviour toward brothers, sisters and parents
  • out-of-character behaviour in class e.g. disruptive, attention seeking due to a dare or  threat
  • deterioration in educational attainments; loss of concentration, interest and enthusiasm in school
  • erratic attendance due to reluctance to go to school
  • lingering behind in school alter classes are over (parents may notice a child’s requests to be accompanied to and from school)
  • increased requests for pocket money, or stealing money (to pay of sources of intimidation)
  • loss of or damage to personal possessions or equipment
  • artwork expressing inner turmoil

 

Should Prejudiced based Bullying be treated any differently?
The rising anti-bullying tide will lift all boats, however when the target of bullying is a child who is already discriminated against, or is in a minority that leaves them open to discrimination, then that situation requires additional focus. By discrimination we mean when somebody is treated less favourably than others because of a specific personal attribute such as their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, or membership of the travelling community or for any other reason. Whether that discrimination is actively present in their school or not, once it is generally accepted to exist in wider society it must be acknowledged and addressed in school to ensure it does not fuel bullying behaviour.

“Safe for Everyone”

With support from The Community Foundation for Ireland we have been resourced to devise a workshop that specifically addresses homophobic bullying in Schools. We strongly recommend that schools access the excellent resources that GLEN  and DES have produced in conjunction with the education partners

The schools we work with that are most successful in addressing bullying are also schools that actively promote a respect for diversity.

Alterophobic based Bullying
This paper from Dr. Stephen James Minton of TCD, Dublin is the first study to focus explicitly on “alterophobia”, and provides the first empirical evidence on “alterophobic bullying”

Who is likely to be involved?

WHO IS LIKELY TO BE INVOLVED IN BULLYING?

  “THE VICTIM”

Any pupil, through no fault of their own, may be bullied. Sometimes all it takes is for the child to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find that there are many children victimised through bullying, who are popular and socially well adjusted.  However, bullies will try to justify their actions by emphasising that the victim is different in some way, i.e. in terms of accent, clothes, physical appearance, size, social class, religion, ethnic origin, or by having learning difficulties. If there is no real difference pupils who bully may invent a reason for their behaviour.

Children who Bully are encouraged by the vulnerable and distressed reactions of their would-be victims. This gives them a “sense of power” and of “being in control”. Children who behave in a hyper-sensitive, cautious, anxious, passive or submissive manner and are not particularly determined, forceful or decisive are more likely to be targeted than the general run of children. However, those who react to an attack in a vulnerable and distressed manner tend to be subjected to repeated aggression. Thus what distinguishes the children who are not victimised from those who are, is not their physical strength, but that they can either challenge or “distance themselves” from the Bully’s intimidating influence.

It is now recognised that many of the negative and unsympathetic characteristics that are often ascribed to victims may be the result of long-term bullying rather than a cause of Bullying. There are, of course, some children who unwittingly invite attacks by behaving in ways that cause tension and irritation in their immediate vicinity.  Such children, often referred to as “provocative victims”, may have inadequate social skills or learning difficulties.

Sadly however, research shows that no matter what the true origin of the bullying episode is, children who are bullied tend to see the cause of bullying in themselves and feel or imagine that there is something “wrong” with them.

The child who bullies

WHAT CHARACTERISES THE CHILD WHO BULLIES?

As all bullying is aggression, a distinctive characteristic of children who bully is their aggressive attitude not only towards their peers but also towards adults, i.e. parents and teachers.

While constitutional factors play a part in aggressive behaviour, it is recognised that factors within the house, school and wider society influence the development of aggressive behaviour.

FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR IN THE HOME ARE:

  • lack of love and care
  • too much freedom
  • inconsistent discipline
  • permissive management of aggressive behaviour
  • violent emotional outbursts on part of adults
  • excessive physical punishment
  • cruelty

FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO AGGRESSION IN SCHOOL ARE:

  • inconsistent and inflexible rules
  • poor staff morale
  • inadequate supervision
  • punishment that is too harsh, abusive or humiliating
  • few incentives and rewards for non-aggressive behaviour
  • curriculum that affords too few feelings of success and achievement
Workplace bullying

We all know that bullying doesn’t stop at the school gates.

In fact failure to tackle bullying behaviour at an early developmental stage ensures that the next generation grow up believing that this behaviour is acceptable, and so we increase the likelihood of it reappearing later in the workplace, in our communities, and in our homes.

Our Bully Whisperer Workshop aims to prevent workplace bullying by raising awareness and educating employees and employers through experiential methods such as appreciative inquiry and interactive action-based creative learning activities.

Please contact us for more information on how our bespoke programme can assist your workplace.

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