13 October 2023
Peer Bullying and How To Prevent It
With the start of a new academic year, an important issue for students, parents and educators has come to the forefront again: Peer bullying. Bullying, which can be encountered by students of almost every age group from kindergarten to high school, is one of the issues that must be approached with sensitivity for quality education, raising mentally and emotionally healthy children, and positively shaping society as a whole. Therefore, educators and parents need to take a lot of responsibility in helping to prevent bullying.
What is Peer Bullying and Why Does It Occur?
Peer bullying is when a person attacks another person of their own age in various ways in order to intentionally harm, upset, or wear down another person. This attack can be physical, verbal, social, emotional, or digital. Some actions defined as bullying behaviours can negatively affecting the quality of life of the person being bullied causing mental and emotional problems.
Although bullying is one of the common problems that can be encountered in different areas of society, at various places and times, schools are one of the environments where the effects are the most intense. Bullying is experienced by many students and sometimes witnessed by educators, each school year. It can occur for various reasons. the most common reasons are:
- Power imbalances,
- An attempt to display dominance,
- The desire to be popular,
- Jealousy and envy,
- The desire for attention,
- Gender roles and the associated social pressures,
- Family problems, and
- Emotional problems such as low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
On the other hand, children and young people who are exposed to peer bullying may face intense stress. As a result of this stress, they may carry the risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. In addition, students who are bullied may experience a decline in their classroom performance and their motivation in the classroom may decrease. They may also struggle with social isolation.
In short, the problems caused by peer bullying in the long and short term negatively affect the lives of bullied children and young people in many ways. Therefore, understanding the seriousness of bullying and taking action on this issue becomes an issue that both educators and parents should take seriously and make efforts to solve.
How to Prevent Peer Bullying?
In order to prevent peer bullying, intervention efforts should be made early and family communication should be prioritized. Educators as well have a great responsibility to provide appropriate psychological and social support in schools for bullied students.
Awareness-raising activities about bullying should be conducted in schools from early grade levels, and students should be taught how to recognize bullying, how to avoid it, and how to help themselves and other students. They should be taught what they can do when they are bullied and be told how important it is to communicate with their parents and teachers. In addition, educational efforts to develop emotional intelligence and empathy should be continued.
Schools should invite families to informative seminars and help them with the education that should start at home. Parents should be informed about the importance of proper communication and the critical importance of developing problem-solving and conflict management skills in children. Schools should develop procedures to prevent bullying and ensure that bullying cases are reported and managed swiftly and completely.
By creating a supportive and safe environment with the cooperation of families, schools, and students, bullying can be prevented and happier, healthier, students can focus on their well education.