School bullying is a problem that persists in the society. It affects not only young children who are victims of bullying, but also the adults who were either themselves victims of bullying during their childhood or whose children are victimized. While there is no standard definition of bullying, it is generally interpreted as the “direct, physical aggression, as well as indirect behavior such as verbal threats” (Smith, 1999, p. 278). Indirect bullying might also include “leaving others out on purpose, spreading rumors to destroy another’s reputation or getting others to dislike another person” (Olweus).
Tattum and Tattum in 1992 described bullying as “willful, conscious desire to hurt another and put him/her under stress” (Defining Bullying). Some describe it as the systematic abuse of power, and in the cases of children, is reinforced by the lack of awareness of their rights (Smith & Sharp, 1994). Psychologists agree that bullying behaviors occur repeatedly over time and that there is an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim. Smith (1999) also classifies bullying as a subcategory of aggressive behavior, particularly a vicious one, which is repeatedly directed towards a particular victim who is unable to defend effectively.
Most focus on the physical aspects of bullying, but indirect bullying poses similar effects on the victims. Bullies seemingly get satisfaction from harming others, may it be physically or psychologically manifested. Studies show that bullies are quite outgoing and socially confident; they rarely show anxiety or guilt in asserting their social position through aggression (Smith & Sharp, 1994). On the other hand, the victims are often those who have no confidence, often exhibiting anxiety in their interactions with peers; they are unable to assert themselves, and they are unable to properly handle the aggression imposed upon them by bullies.
Actions are being taken to prevent bullying. The problem in school bullying is that it is often hidden from the supervising adults because the victims are reluctant to complain, perhaps because of fear, while peer groups are also reluctant of providing information. Smith (1999) explained that bullying, at least in schools, exists as a part of the normal interactions between children with different backgrounds and personality characteristics.
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