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What Are The Causes of Bullying?
PHOTO BY @LSOphoto/iStock
  • Causes of bullying differ. It only means that  anyone can become a target, regardless of gender, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. Understanding why people bully others can help teachers and parents become aware and find the best ways to combat it.

    Factors that can lead to bullying may include differences in appearance, social status, race, and sexual orientation. But these are not an excuse to bully someone.

    Environmental factors

    Physical violence in media may contribute to bullying. Some children can watch a lot of violence in the media and not be affected while others can display higher levels of aggression from watching materials deemed to be violent. Thus, it also can depend on how environmental factors are perceived and applied. Proper guidance is also imperative so as not to be influenced with such.

    Low self-esteem

    Some students who bully others actually have low self-esteem. They try to compensate this feeling by picking on others and feel a sense of accomplishment by doing so. It may give them a good feeling, but it is only temporary, so, they tend to do it habitually, not knowing that this feeling of elation greatly affects their victims. 

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    Lack of compassion and empathy

    Although there are others that have much higher self-confidence, they usually lack compassion and empathy and can respond aggressively whenever they feel threatened. Children who bully others have been reported as being low in empathy and therefore not being sensitive to the plight of others. This explains why some of the reasons they say they bully others are: "The other child annoyed me," "To get even," "For fun," "To show how tough I am." Whatever their reason may be, bullying will never be an action to be condoned. 

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    Societal factors

    A typical example is bullying based on sexual orientation. This has increased as the conversations surrounding LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) have increased in recent years. Regardless of sexual orientation, everyone has the right to go to school and live peacefully, without fear of getting taunted or much worse, bullied. 
    People around the world face violence and inequality and sometimes torture, much worse, execution because of who they love, how they look or who they are. Sexual orientation and gender identity are vital aspects of one’s self and should never lead to discrimination or abuse. Society has been slowly accepting the LGBTs with an aim to provide every individual equal rights as any other human being. No person has the right to condemn, discriminate or, much worse, harm them based on their sexual preferences.

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    Peer groups

    The influence of peer groups can also contribute a lot in bullying. Peer pressure occurs when a young person is influenced or pressured by those around them into participating in risky behavior or acting in a way that they normally wouldn’t. This is usually through friends at school, sporting groups, relatives, neighbors etc. School aged children are under great pressure to appear desirable to their peers and, if they do not, they risk becoming targets of bullying.

    Craving attention

    In some cases, there are some who crave for attention and the desire to be perceived as brave and confident. These can cause them to bully to get more attention. Though there are a lot of ways to get attention and be at the limelight, bullying seems to be the easiest and “coolest” way to do so. 

    Dysfunctional families

    Children who bully are 3 times more likely to have family or parental problems. Children who experience issues at home, such as abuse and neglect or a divorce, can cause them to bully others due to despair, anger, or jealousy. Being a harsh parent can also be a factor. This can be their way of expressing suppressed anger at home.

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    Family factors that contribute to bullying behavior in children:

    The child is rejected or perceived negatively by one or both parents.

    There is a lack of nurturing and emotional support provided by the family.

    Often, poor bonding exists between the parent and child.

    Parental disharmony and conflict are present.

    Harsh, physical punishment is used to coerce and control the child.

    The parent's discipline is inconsistent and based on the parent's mood rather than on the child's behavior.

    The family is socially isolated and lacking in outside support.

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    Every child has the right to go to school safe from violence, including from their peers. Children also have the right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of information. When children are victims of bullying and cyberbullying, these rights are not respected. 

    Bullying during early school years can have long-lasting effects on our children, including low grades and poor academic performance, insomnia, a low self-esteem, and other health problems.  

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    Knowing the common causes and reasons why children bully can help teachers and parents find ways to prevent it from happening. Empowering our children is one of them. We may not totally eradicate it, but at least find means to minimize and save our children from undergoing the trauma it can cause them.

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