As the issue of safety of schools in the United States has captured the interests of legislators, another emerging problem that has intensified is the problem of school bullying (Nickerson, 2015). Research suggests that bullying is a type of victimization of adolescents in school that frequently occurs, particularly among students in middle grades and can result in grave consequences for both the bully and the victim. A U.S secret service released a report in 2002 which said bullying played a vital role in many school shootings. As intimidation and harassment in the school settings keep on growing, school bullying is a result of a competitive society that pushes teenagers to hurt others.
School bullying is attributed to lack of empathy. Recent research at the University of Michigan revealed that most school going individuals are less empathetic when compared to 30 years ago. Measured by standard tests of empathy personality, the report says that there is a drop in empathy and currently students are 40 percent lower of empathy as compared to three decades ago. Lack of empathy has driven students to bully their fellow students (Mitsopoulou et al., 2015). The emotion system of a bully is inhibited, and they do not have a range of vulnerable emotions of being sad to happiness. They are shot of empathy, consideration and caring for others. Some studies indicate that sometimes bullies lose the capacity to blush with embarrassment as they do not show any remorse, forgiveness or gratitude. Mitsopoulou et al. (2015) urge that due to the competitiveness of who is superior in the society, bullies have developed an emotional system that is not responsive to humanity. They have a hardened heart, and their brains have moved from preventing the bullies from defending others to harassment. It can be noted that bullies are in a flight of vulnerability and they are unable to tolerate any weakness. They tend to project onto others what they are most defended against themselves. Bullies are psychologically fragile, and their lack of vulnerability does not draw out to caring for others. Rather, their inhumane actions illustrate the bullies to their victims. The brains of bullies have rendered them devoid of responsibility. They are numbed out and detached from all human relationships, and they seem to be wounded individuals. The fact that they need to feel they are in control in a given environment especially schools. In schools, bullies get more vulnerable persons that they can express their superiority that is motivated by societal factors such as a class that pushes theses bullies to victimize other students (Mitsopoulou et al., 2015).
Bullies also have low self- esteem. Other than the exceptional circumstances, bullies have low self-esteem. What they try to achieve when they bully other students in school is to boost their self-esteem. In the various literature on bullying, it has been recognized that peer relationships issue has manifested itself in being bullied are linked with low self-esteem (OMoore & Kirkham, 2001). The results of the literature indicate that school going children of primary and post-primary were victims of bullying from individuals with low self-esteem. OMoore & Kirkham (2001) suggests that human beings have come up with many short cuts in making one feel better in the society. The most common ways are behaviors that call for seeking attention. For example, a person may sit down near a friend and let out a long sigh and face down. The objective here is to elicit the what is wrong? OMoore & Kirkham, 2001) question that opens their chance to seek morale-boosting statements from the friend. Contrast to this approach; bullies employ methods that are cruel, crude and expose the dark side of human interactions. Perhaps, bullies do not possess the essential social skills that may humble them. Bullies call attention to boost their self-esteem. Both the simple method of people in general and the cruel method of bullies all aim at raising ones esteem (Seals & Young, 2003). However, the issue lies like the effect. A calm person will estimate an average boost to go for up to 30 minutes for those with low self-esteem. From there, there is a choice of being happy or sad or seek another self-worth from another place in the same way. A calm person is likely to choose the option of less pain. Since bullies find attention to boost esteem but in a different way, they also seek attention with the least pain, which to them is bullying other people. Psychologists say that bullies are motivated by the sense of entitlement that they think they possess in the society. They lack impact control and social skills that make them cruel to others to achieve their right and boost their esteem (Seals & Young, 2003).
Additionally, lack of conformity has resulted in the increased cases of bullying. For most children who grow up, they are most likely to be members of a social group that may reject them. Developmental psychologists agree that negative social reactions among teenagers are random, but there are unique behaviors and personality features that bring about hostile feedback. Although some characters may be considered as universal predictors of hostile responses from peers of the same group, there is sufficient evidence that deviance from social norms or a person inability to conform to social standards results in being a social outcast society (Juvonen & Galvan, 2009). Also, the competitiveness that arises from social structures and power in the society prevents some adolescents to conform hence becoming bullies. Social hierarchies among human beings especially school going adolescents are established and maintained through demonstrating authority. Since a teenager feels inferior to follow and wish to show how authoritative he or she is, they decide to bully their peers to prove the power. Besides, various studies reveal that bullies are popular which means they possess some powers among their peers. And they use the fame and power they have acquired by being defiant and deviating from rules to affect other people since they believe they have a higher social status society (Juvonen & Galvan, 2009).
Dominant members of the society have social capital which not only maintains social order but influence and control the characters of other group members. Juvonen and Galvan (2009) demonstrated this impact of managing social status in schools. Eleventh-grade young men supposedly collaborated with their peers from their grades in a debate. The adolescent males were most likely to imitate severe behavioral reactions of high-status as opposed to low-status peers in testing social circumstances including vandalism, prodding, smoking cannabis and many more activities considered deviant in the society (Juvonen & Galvan, 2009). In this way, while prevailing peers may take part in tormenting their peers to help or keep up their control others are probably going to come, potentially even participate further and, imitate the unfriendly conduct as opposed to challenging the hostile behavior. Conformity is termed as the major causation of school bullying due to the existence of power and influence that arise from competitiveness in the society. Conformity is contagious and to look at whether youth imitate the practices of bullies, Juvonen and Galvan (2009) inspected changes in antisocial practices across middle school grades. Steady with the social mimicry speculation. The individuals who viewed spooks as "cool" amid the fall of sixth grade were more probable than others to show expanded levels of solitary conduct amid the second year in center school. By copying the practices of overwhelming people and perhaps at the same time separating themselves from low-status peers and avoid conformity, the investigations further discovered that aggregate individuals increased their social standing by looking more like people with significant influence associated with bullying. At the point when high status is related with a tormenting, imitating of unfriendly conduct is likewise self-defensive. That is, youths reduce their danger of being the next victims when they act more like the domineering bully, unlike the victim. According to Marshall (2013), human beings often try to establish a rank in the society, and when children are in high school, it is a limited field in which they can come up with a level and climbing the social ladder, be on top of other students and maintain the position. Hence, students utilize bullying to achieve the position.
However, a recent study carried out by some researcher suggest that a majority of cases of bullying are associated with biological cases rather than low self-esteem, lack of conformity and empathy. The study that was carried out in Vancouver school divided students into four categories and issued questionnaires for victims, bullies, and bystanders (Fanty & Henrich et al., 2015). From the data, it was reported that bullies had the lowest level of depression and the highest level of social status. As mentioned earlier, social status and conformity result in bullying behaviors. However, the studies reveal otherwise. The biological aspect of the research findings does not agree with bullying being a result of a competitive society. Instead, bullying can be traced back to evolution. Fanty & Henrich et al. (2015) urges that bullying is similar to the concept of human beings being aggressive as a means of survival, defending boundaries, securing the best partner and obtain a fair share of scarce resources available.
In conclusion, bullying has continued to take center stage in problems that affect students in school. While there have been many efforts to mitigate the problem such as laws and implementation of psychological counseling programs, the greatest cause of bullying in schools that is yet to be addressed is competitive society. Competitive society has pressurized students to throw away their feelings and become cruel. They lack empathy which strengthens human relationships. Low self-esteem has also resulted to bullying. It can be noted that low self-esteem shows the weaknesses of some students. And while other students seek acceptable ways of achieving esteem and boost moods, bullies resolve to cruel methods of boosting their self-esteem which involves victimizing other students. Conformity has a great impact in competitive societies. It is contagious and keeps on spreading among peers as all of them try to prove how superior they are. Therefore, competitive societies have resulted to bullying hence forcing students to bully their fellow students who seem vulnerable.
Fanti, K. A., & Henrich, C. C. (2015). Effects of self-esteem and narcissism on bullying and victimization during early adolescence. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 35(1), 5-29.
Juvonen, J. A. A. N. A., & Galvan, A. D. R. I. A. N. A. (2009). Bullying as a means to foster compliance. Bullying, rejection, and peer victimization: A social cognitive neuroscience perspective, 299-318.
Marshall, M. (2013). Fostering social responsibility. BookBaby.Nickerson, A. B., Aloe, A. M., & Werth, J. M. (2015). The relation of empathy and defending in bullying: a meta-analytic investigation. School Psychology Review, 44(4), 372-390.
OMoore, M., & Kirkham, C. (2001). Selfesteem and its relationship to bullying behaviour. Aggressive behavior, 27(4), 269-283.Seals, D., & Young, J. (2003). Bullying and victimization: Prevalence and relationship to gender, grade level, ethnicity, self-esteem, and depression. Adolescence, 38(152), 735.
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