The topic I have chosen resonates with me personally as I have experienced it firsthand. I also think it is a topic that many can relate too. I know a lot of people have either been bullied, been the bully or witnessed it themselves. I have chosen bullying and how it is a social deviance. Bullying cane be defined as the use of power and aggression to cause distress or control another. Bullying itself manifest in all ages, from children in grade school all the way through adult hood. I have seen it and the effects of it, no good comes from bullying. I also know that while yes it can stem from some sort of discrimination it does not always target a certain race, sexual orientation or gender. Bullying has a huge spectrum; those previously listed can be reasons why but so can your social status, culture or even the brand of clothing you wear.
Most of these reasons are out of anyone’s hand, people are usually born into these circumstances no one chooses to be a person of color nor do they choose their sexuality, contrary to what some believe. I believe personally that bullying is the worst as you are going through school. You are still trying to figure out who you are and that last thing you need is someone trying to tell you that. Also, bullying today is far different because now we have the cyber realm to consider. Everything from shopping to communicating to people abroad can be done via the web and social media unfortunately plays a significant role in our lives. Now with that said, you can literally be bullied from the comfort of your own home which should be a safe zone. You can be a target for many reasons, body image, sexuality and the list goes on but the question is how do we stop it? How do we prevent children from cyber bullying? What should the punishment of this be, if any?
Throughout the course we learned how different theories and perspectives better help us explore and define the different deviances that people demonstrate. One of those theories that goes hand and hand with bullying is the labeling theory and that is for obvious reasons. The labeling theory is a theory in which the rule making and the reactions to the rules that are being broken (Goode, 2011, pg.52). The way this correlates to bullying is basically with every action there is a clear and opposite reaction. An example of this would be someone is bullied day in and day out now they want to either hurt themselves to escape the torment or the victim wants revenge. So now we have a reaction to the action which is the bullying. Therefore it has a snow ball effect of another deviant behavior because personal harm to either party is involved.
According to the article by Douglas Vanderbilt and Marilyn Augustyn there are a plethora of effects from being bullied. Bullying is in fact a major problem for children, “There are well-defined risk factors for bullying that are individual and social. Beyond the immediate trauma of experiencing bullying, victims are at high risk of the later physical and emotional disorders” (Vanderbilt & Augustyn, 2010). There are multiple rules that are broken when it comes to bullying, basic human rights are violated, and discrimination may even take place among many issues. Bullying leaves significant trauma on people as stated from the article this is both physical and emotional. The issues that can arise from this are vital and preventing bullying is the key. As stated in the article as well, there are signs of bullying by both the bully and the victim. Recognizing them could be huge in protecting someone and possible getting the bullies themselves help as well.
As we transition into the topic of bullying and victimization the College of Family Physicians of Canada published an excellent article to review the epidemiology, identification, and management of bullying and victimization among people in their primary setting. This article presents a review of bullying and associated symptoms, a tool for assessing bullying involvement, and an overview of intervention and management. “With an increased awareness and understanding of bullying as a health problem, physicians can play an instrumental role in identifying people involved in bullying and providing them with the support needed to develop healthy relationships” (Lamb, Pepler, & Craig, 2009) If we have children that are targeted early on in life this could have long term effects on them so it is crucial they get the help needed to develop healthy relationships. By doing so we will be setting people up for success which is only fair since they were cheated from it.
Although not everyone that is bullied will need help it all varies on the person themselves and the extent of the bullying that took place. By utilizing the labeling theory we can see how such basic rules are broken, but what is broken is also fixable. The problem needs to be addressed in order to do that. The next theory will be the functionalist theory. Functionalism adopts a consensus paradigm: Harmony is the rule, and a disruption of that harmony calls for steps to reestablish peace and tranquility. (Goode, 2011, pg. 58) We can examine what made the individual become a bully. This could have stemmed from a dysfunctional family life, maybe this person saw their parent be bullied by the other, or a parent (s) bullies the children. There is a good chance that bullies themselves face a disarray of issues at home that cause internal pain and anger, as a result they attack others.
Once we have identified this dysfunction and acknowledge that there is a problem we can then fix it. I believe that nine times out of ten someone doesn’t wake up and become a bully, they are taught it. People are not born hating, it is something that is taught, and this particular habit is probably picked up at home unfortunately. It has a ripple effect, this habit is picked up at home and brought to school or the work place and so on as so forth. (Swearer, Espelage, Vaillancourt, & Hymel, 2010) This article addresses what can be done once bullying has occurred which is very important. Bullying sometimes is not preventable and it can happen but the important thing is once it does what is done to rectify the issue. Creating a safe work place and learning environment is vital. Also, stating in any clauses or work environment rules that bullying is not and will be tolerated.
People should feel safe when they are either at school or work, no one should have to feel uncomfortable because this atrocity is tolerated. This also covers how a person is not born a bully but created. This is a learned behavior, it is taught to prey on the weak and defenseless because they make easy targets. It is all a part of the theory of bullying. Choose someone that you know won’t put up a fight this in turn makes you feel better about yourself, superior almost. If this happens in a school the child could be threatened with detention or even suspension. The work place can have a similar type of punishment, suspension without pay is usually enough to stop someone for being a bully. Lastly, the conflict theory will help me further explore the issue of bullying. In contrast to functionalism, the conflict theory sees groups with competing and clashing interesting, “they see struggles between and among categories, sectors, groups, and classes in the society, with winners and losers resulting from the outcome of these struggles” (Goode, 2011 pg. 58).
The conflict theory is probably one of the strongest out of the three to better identify this issue. With the cyber realm playing such a pivotal role in our daily routine bullying has become essentially easier to do (Sabella, Patchin, & Hinduja, 2013). A person can literally be bullied from their own home, so where is the safe zone? Cyber bullying is so much easier with all the social media. Unfortunately this is the society we live in with smart phones and computers ruling our social life. The competing and clashing of people attacking one another is simple. The sad part is strangers can jump upon the bullying bandwagon and the next thing this victim knows they have dozens of people attacking them instead of one. Once this happens the victim can suffer tremendously. Not only are they being attacked at school or work but at home and it is spreading like wild fire. This has a huge effect on the victim’s self-esteem and as previously discussed this could have long term harmful effects on them. “Previous research on traditional bullying among adolescents has found a relatively consistent link between victimization and lower self-esteem, while finding an inconsistent relationship between offending and lower self-esteem” (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010)
This is why it is important to know what bullying is, how to stop it and once someone has been victimized how to get them proper help. Throughout this course we learned a number of ways to identify different deviances. We learned out to categorize them and better explore them by using different concepts and theories. By utilizing the labeling, functionalist, and conflict theory I was better equipped to research bullying and connect it as a social deviance. Once that was established the research articles supported the thesis. Bullying is an awful problem that causes far more harm than good and can lead to many problems down the road. While it is an unfortunate issue it is preventable and not a permanent problem. It is important that people feel and are not victimized once they seek help. I know firsthand that bullying can create long term problems but with the right help and assistance it can also be stopped. It stops with people taking stand and fighting for the ones that cannot fight for themselves. Again, people are not born hating and being cruel it is taught so if they are taught to hate they can learn how to be kind.
Sabella, R. A., Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2013). Cyberbullying myths and realities. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2703-2711.
Vanderbilt, D. (2010). The Effects of Bullying. Pediatrics and Child Health, 315-320. Lamb, J., Pepler, D. J, Craig, W. (2009). Can Fam Physician. Apr 2009; 55(4): 356–360. Swearer, S. M, Espelage, D. L., Vaillancour, T., Hymel, S. (2010) What Can Be Done About School Bullying?. Eduational Researcher, pg 38-47
Patchin JW, Hinduja S. Cyberbullying and self-esteem. J Sch Health. 2010; 80: 614-621
Goode, E. (2011). Deviant Behavior (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.