Learn More About Bullying with Our Bullying Fact Sheet
History –Norwegian Dan Olweus authored the first major prevention program after three children committed suicide as a result of bullying. His program ideas have influenced almost everyone. (The Freud of Bullying)
Definition of Bullying –An intentional aggressive act by a stronger peer or group of peers towards a weaker peer carried out repeatedly over a period of time. Typically, the weaker peer cannot defend him/herself.
Prevalence –Typically, up to a quarter of children in a primary and intermediate school setting are subject to bullying experience either as a bully or as a victim. The lowest rates are in England and Scandinavia where programs have been in place longest. Canada runs at over 25% in most studies.
Types of bullying:
- Physical aggression (in person)
- Verbal attacks (in person)
- Indirect (having someone else bully the person)
- Relational (setting up peers against the victim)
- Cyberbullying (from calls to Facebook attacks that may be personal or anonymous) can be done from home when there is less supervision and without access.
***Girls use more indirect forms of bullying and are therefore harder to confront whereas boys use physicality, are more visible and, therefore, are easier to intervene with.
***Stable victim or bullying roles are developed by ages 8 to 9 years
***Bullies will often use more than one type of behavior to bully victims.
Bully Characteristics: More Externalisers and Prestige Seeking (Lower overall pathology)
- Poor academic skills
- Lack empathy
- Perceive threats easily
- See aggression as a problem solver
- Later – more substance abuse and criminality
- Later – less popular
- Home – less competent parents, poor role models
- May be physically larger
Victim Characteristics – More Internalisers and Accommodation Seekers (Greater overall pathology)
- Tend to be physically smaller
- Tend to anxiety, fearfulness, and insecurity
- Prone to dropping out of school
- Depression an issue
- 10% is seen
- Of what is seen 10% is reported
- Seriousness is underestimated
- Impact of interventions by teachers is significantly overestimated
More Positive Effects of Programs
- Social competence
- Self esteem
- Peer acceptance
- Better teacher understanding and skills
Less Important Positive Effects of Programs
- Actual reduction of bullying instances
- To note that England and the Scandinavian countries have had anti-bullying programs for the longest time and their rates are the lowest in the western world.
Types of Programs
- Whole School Programs – policies and approaches for the school – the first to be developed and the most studied, it varies in terms of effectiveness but school investment is a prime determinant of effectiveness it seems.
- Classroom Climate – teacher student relationship – teacher led social structure. Good results.
- Peer supported systems such as Peer Helper programs – friendship circles etc. seem to be contingent on good teacher supervision
- School Tribunals – students are elected to hear evidence and pass judgment. Canada and England – school with high bullying rates saw them fall.
- Playground design and increased supervision – surprisingly effective
- Curriculum Work - learning
- Working with Specific Pupils – empathy training is not well supported – problem solving approach is supported.
- Community Conferencing (Australia) seems well supported and is our preferred approach.
Programs to Avoid
- To place delinquent kids together for a program
- Norway studies are among the most innovative:
- Seville Study – Democratic Management of Interpersonal Relationships – cooperative group work – Curriculum Training Modules for emotions and empathy – Direct Interventions with Cases – probably among the most successful.
Key Factors For Success –
- Length of sustained effort
- Intensity of the school’s attention and effort
- Primary schools may be better environments for this kind of intervention
- Girls are more receptive to anti-bullying information