Bullying is defined as an aggressive and unwanted behavior often against children. The act of bullying involves a perceived or actual power imbalancewhere a person with superior powers (an adult) uses them to maltreat those who do not have such powers (the young). The powers are derived from the age difference and the abuse of respect that emanates from the elderly person to the younger person. Bullying is a behavior that is often done repeatedly over time. Actions involved in bullying include making threats, attacking someone verbally or physically, spreading rumors, and intentionally excluding a person from a group (Olweus, 1994). As technology evolves, bullying has taken on a new form-cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is carried out electronically through devices such as computers, tablets, cellphones, as well as through tools such as chats, websites, text messages, and other media sites. Examples of cyberbullying may include rumors sent or posted on social sites, mean or threatening text messages, embarrassing videos, pictures or fake profiles (Williams and Guerra, 2007).
Bullying statistics in the US reveal that 1 in every 4 children is repeatedly bullied. Between cyber bullying and other forms of intimidation, these statistics illustrate a major problem not only in the American school system but the society as a whole (Whitney and Smith, 1993). While school bullying may happen in school, cyber bullying extends beyond the classroom. Cyber bullying entails the use of information technology to cause harm to others while school bullying entails the use of the school rules and regulations by the teachers and the prefects to cause unprecedented harm to the less superior students in the school. the main reason as to why the cyber bullying extends outside school is because the students access social media platform where they get attacks from various quarters (social media participants) about their behavior by posting issues that lowers their self esteem and thereby making them stressful. Bullying is both a personal and public issue. The acts are targeted at individuals. However, there is a ripple effect that spills onto the society making it a public issue. Students who are bullied exhibit qualities of being socially withdrawn, they lack the motivation to attend school, which can lead to low grades. Victims of bullying also display a high sense of negative feelings and emotionsand believe everyone in the world is out to attack them. As a result, they take on a defensive stance towards everything. Studies have shown that victims of bullying are more susceptible to depression and even substance abuse. In extreme cases, these victims commit suicide. The effects that make bullying a public issue is that these victims are at a high risk of psychiatric problems, substance abuse and illegal behavior such as felonies. (Beran and Li, 2008). Therefore the act of bullying tends to threaten the health values since as the incidences of bullying brings on board the stress, it can cause mental retardation which may lead to psychiatric problems. In a familial context, bullying threatens the unity and harmony that should be exhibited between relatives and friends. As bullying takes place, those who are being bullying develops a negative attitude towards their relatives thereby causing quarrels civil unrest within these groups. The burden dealing with the health problem caused by bullying falls on the community members. Additionally, the hatred that spreads within the society caused by bullying creates a social problem where some society member will not respect the decisions and propositions of others.
Part 2: Organization at large
Stomp Out Bullying (SOB) is one of the most recognized and influential anti-bullying organizations in the US. Initially, this organization was formed under the name Love Our Children USA. In 2005, its founder Ross Ellis saw the need to address the issue of bullying and cyber bullying. This led to the formation of Stomp Out Bullying in 2005. This organization was established with an aim to reduce and prevent bullying, cyberbullying, digital abuse and sexting. Stomp Out Bullying mainly works with kids and teenagers. Stomp Out Bullying has been effective through various programs and campaigns. The organization has programs nationwide to educate teens and kids against hatred, racism, and homophobia in an effort to reduce school absenteeism and violence in communities, schools and online platforms. They have peer mentoring programs and several social media campaigns geared at educating the public about bullying. The initiative provides schedule of classes on the adverse effects of bullying of various forms and how they can be prevented. Additionally, the program has a website that takes the students into step by step training on the act of bullying and how best it can be prevented in the school context. Furthermore, the initiative work with the schools by incorporating some of the pertinent issues that surrounds the notion of bullying into the curriculum of study.Stomp Out Bullying holds an annual awareness event known as the Blue Shirt day. The event brings together all involved stake holders such as kids, teens, parents, celebrities and the media. During the awareness day, advocates educate the parents on the need to have an open communication with their children. The mentors also educate the stakeholders on some of the signs to look out for in their children.
Stomp Out Bullying mainly gets its funds from well-wishers and sponsors who believe in their cause. They also raise money through their website where they ask the public to make a donation towards this noble cause. The Stomp Out Bullying website has different funding and partnership categories which they use to get funds such as, individual supporters, celebrity supporters, media supporters, corporate and foundation supporters, and bullying prevention partners. These funds go towards helping teens and students who need psychiatric help, creating awareness, and counseling victims of bullying.
Part 3: Being an Agent of Change
The nonprofit organization I would form would be named, No, Not Me! This is a personal declaration that I would require 12 year school kids to make. No, Not Me, says that I will not be involved in bullying, and I will speak out when I see another student getting bullied. My aim would be to teach school 12 year old kids that long before bullying becomes a social menace, it starts with me as a person. Every action starts with a decision. I believe kids and teens need to make a decision and a declaration that they will not be involved in bullying. My organization would mainly partner with elementary schools across the country because school life takes the most of our days. The high chances are that if any bullying is occurring it starts in school. Bullying affects school life in a negative way. Victims of bullying dread to show up in school and their grades are affected as a result (Nansel et al., 2001). I would design learning materials to sensitize children on what bullying is, the effects of bullying, signs to look out for and to let them know whom they can speak to. I would also engage with the teachers and tell them signs to look out for in their students. in so doing I will be giving classes to these kids and offer trainings to the administrators and the teachers as well.In case any student has been bullied, I would advocate for more attention and monitoring of those students so that they do not disconnect and live a solitary life in school. My recommendation to the schools would be to employ a counselor who has been trained on bullying and other social injustices. My overall mission would be to create a bully-free environment in schools. Once children are educated about bullying in their formative years, they are less likely to be perpetrators of the same. My aim would be to curb this behavior at a young age (Whitney and Smith, 1993).
Part 4: Sociological Analysis
Sociology provides concepts and theories that explain the genesis and the reasons for different issues such as bullying. This analysis of bullying will look at the following social concepts, deviant behavior, socialization, culture and society, conformity, inequality, ethnicity, race, gender and the social norms theory (Yoneyama and Naito, 2003).
Bullying can be categorized as deviance because it is against the values and norms of society. it is expected that every person in the society be treated with utmost respect and the at the same time exhibit kindness to one another. These are some of the values that bullying go against and hence it must be shunned from out midst.Every society has values that it believes to be right, and the wider majority follows these. Society and culture play a critical role in social injustices such as bullying. Bullying as a behavior mainly stems from the society or community, because people learn these behaviors from society. There are cultures where bullying is tolerated, while in others it is strictly prohibited (Perkins et al., 2011).
Socialization also plays an integral role in bullying. By definition, socialization refers to the process where individuals develop and learn social values and norms. Socialization, therefore, informs and shapes people, and it is here that we choose to be bullies, stand against the behavior, or adopt a neutral attitude. In this prospect, the children can either learn to bully or not to bully depending on the kind of socialization that they are exposed to. It is now the responsibility of the teachers and parents to exhibit a socialization stance that reduces does not condone bullying while embraces harmony and respect for all. Conformityis one of the social aspects that encourages bullying. Many children and even adults find it much easier to conform rather than go against the crowd to speak out or help the victims. In this line of thought most person tend not to speak out and defend the bullied when they see the act happening. They ignore and assume the act as normal and hence this makes the person bullying to continue without any discretion. Today, many youths hold the false belief that name calling, teasing and spreading rumors makes them more popular in society. The kids therefore indulge in bullying since they know they would be famous, respected and feared in the society. this act makes the inferior fellows to suffer a great deal from bullying.As a result, they may not take hard stands against bullying (Vanga, 2013). Therefore the kids continue to bully since they would perceive this act as an expectation for them to be accepted in the society. Gender, race, and ethnicity also play a significant role in bullying. Bullies mainly attack people whom they believe are inferior on the basis of race, gender and ethnicity. It is always presumed that the female gender is usually weak and hence they tend to fall a victim of bully than their male counterparts. Bullying further perpetuates inequality. For example, the racial discriminations between the whites and the blacks often culminates into bullying.Often, bullies are seen to be popular and superior, and this splits society even
Part 5: Reflection
As a society, it is time to look at the overwhelming and alarming statistics that show the adverse effects of bullying. Bullying affects the psychological functioning and well-being of the victims. On the other hand, the perpetrators are also at risk of higher criminality tendencies, poor academic achievements, and drug abuse. With technology advancements, bullying has taken a turn for the worse. It is becoming extremely hard to stop and control this behavior. Society at large needs to learn that bullying has lifelong consequences. In most cases, the victims have to undergo intensive therapy to overcome the effects of bullying. Some of the victims see suicide as their only escape. Society, on the other hand, is left to deal with crime and other injustices that stem from bullying (Ojala and Nesdale, 2004). I would personally like to see every person take the initiative to speak and educate people about bullying. Bullying is a public issue. Parents must not leave the teachers in school to deal with bullying. They need to create an environment where their children can speak to them about such issues. Bullying organizations and advocacy groups need more funding from the government and society at large. We all need to pull together if we are to win the war against bullying.
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