To begin analyzing bullying, the problem needs to be examined from all sides. Firstly, it is necessary to define just what is meant by bullying. For example, you might say that “bullying is aggressive behavior that intends to gain power over a person, usually more than once and often frequently, and giving the bully pleasure at the victim’s pain.” The analysis would require data on the incidence of bullying in a specific environment, if that information is available. In a school, perhaps, you could ask how frequently bullying is reported and how many incidences of bullying occur in a particular timeframe.
Finally, it would be necessary to look at bullies and also victims of bullying, to see if members of each category have common characteristics and to explore their backgrounds, their situation in life and their social relationships at school.
How would this information be obtained? In a school or institution, administration may already hold data on reported incidences of bullying. It would also be possible to survey students, and staff, in a confidential survey
The critical step is getting accurate and balanced data. For instance, if statistics are used, it is important to know how the details were obtained, for what period and by whom. It would be preferable to interview individuals and groups, using the same template to get comparable information. The greatest challenge might be to get information on people who bully. Do they recognize themselves as bullies, or do they see themselves as victims and their bullying behavior as a necessary response? Gathering unbiased data on known bullies could also be challenging, depending on whether it was obtained by direct observation or via an intermediary who might see their situation differently.
The questions one could ask in survey could cover both bullying and being bullied. Questions might follow this type of format:
Have you bullied another person? If so, how oftenonce a day, once a week, once a month?
Have you seen someone else being bullied? Once a day, once a week, once a month?
Have you been bullied? If so, how oftenonce a day, once a week, once a month?
Have you been bullied on-line? If so, how oftenonce a day, once a week, once a month?
Questions could also ask the nature of the bullying, the effect on the victim, any actions that have been taken to avoid bullying, physical bullying, relationship bullying and sexual abuse.
Bullying within family, school and peer social groups is the most common first experience for victimization for children, and also their first opportunity to bully someone else. Parents who bully their children or other people, whether they realise it or not, are teaching their children how, to hate, how to be intolerant and how to belittle and hurt people they don’t like.
Some teachers are bullies, though perhaps fewer these days than in the past, and some teachers do little to prevent bullying. Telling a child to be brave, or answer back, does nothing to protect the damage to that child’s self-belief. Another child, or a group, have told them they are a lesser being – ugly, dumb, fat, different. With their injured ego and in a state of confusion, a child may not have the courage or the mental strength to stand up to their overbearing counterpart. Sometime the bully is an attractive and popular child and teachers need to recognize this a=be prepared to intervene and set that child on the right path.
The school environment and home are places where children should feel safe and protected and yet they are the setting for some of the most damaging and crippling activity. Many people remember limping through their schooldays until at last they can leave and break free. Some people never recover. Some go on to bully, hate and maim.
Anti-bullying strategies need to be taught in infancy and right through school. Teaching needs to take a zero tolerance approach to bullying, but in a positive way that imparts strength of character, tolerance, bravery and kindness, creating a new generation far removed from hate crimes and cruelty.