Developmental perspective to bullying Essay
Developmental perspective to bullying
Researches have found that the nature of bullying and victimisation changes with age and differs by gender as well. It is also found that previous experiences influence the likelihood that children will become bullies and/or victims. The type of aggression and the relationship context for the aggression change as the child grows and development occurs.
A general guideline can be prepared for the type of aggression and the target of aggression that emerge in different stages of development of children. (Pepler, D. , 1999) Figure 3: Type of aggression by developmental stage (Pepler, D., 1999) A Social- Ecological Systems Perspective on Bullying Social –ecological system perspective looks at bullying in terms of influence from multiple environments.
Figure 4: A social-ecological framework of bullying among youth (Espelage, D. L. et al 2004) This perspective is based on the understanding that bullying does not occur in isolation. According to this principle, bullying is a phenomenon that is encouraged or inhibited as a result of the complex relationship between the different entities, namely, the individual, family, peer group, school, community and the culture.
As shown in figure-1, the individual is at the centre of the social ecology. The individual involved may be a victim, bully, bully-victim or bystander. Individual factors influence the participation in bullying through different actions or inaction. An example is how the individual gender mediates the engagement in bullying. The bully, bully-victim, or bystander, all could exist in a family. This points to how the family can influence bullying behaviours. The bullying behaviour between the siblings can influence the development of bullying or victimisation in the individual at school.
The social ecology includes other entities such as peers and the school as well. The social environment at school also influences bullying and victimisation. If an individual attends a school where a bullying climate exists, it is likely to be involved in bullying either as a bully, victim or any other role. The peer group often influences how the individual is likely to behave in terms of bullying. If the individual’s peer group supports bullying, then the individual is more likely to engage in bullying behaviour. The community extends the environment of the school to other areas that the individual uses.
The community consists of school, peer group, family, and the individual apart from other roles that the individual interacts in day-to-day life. The culture consists of the general norms, beliefs and practices that could either support or inhibit bullying of individuals. The ecological-systems theory is based on the principle that all individuals are part of an inter-related system that consists of several roles and entities, but keeps the individual at the centre and looks at how the other entities affect the individual from the perspective of bullying. This model was put forward by Bronfenbrenner (1979).
It puts forth the nature of human interaction and behaviour and how it is inter-related to other systems. According to this theory, the child is an inseparable part of a social network that consists of inter-related systems. These systems can be categorised into four: micro system, meso system, exo system and macro system. These different systems are inter-related to each other and the child is at the centre of these systems and actively involved in the interplay of these systems. The micro system pertains to the child’s relationship with one system such as home, classroom or playground.
It depicts the child’s interaction with others as well as other’s reaction to the bullying behaviours. It also includes the status of the child in the bully/ victim continuum at any point of time. The micro system takes into account the interaction between the bully, victim, bully-victim or the bystander and the social environment. This can either encourage the bullying behaviour or restrict it. The meso system involves the congruence of two or more environments that are relevant to the individual. An example of such environments is home and school. It includes the inter-relationship between these systems.
The exo-system consists of influences from other contexts that are related to bullying. An example of this context is the effect of a school district’s anti-bully policy or even the involvement of parents in the school system. The macro system involves the influence of broader entities such as the society in general. It looks at the attitudes of the society towards the bullying behaviour. This theory provided framework for prevention and intervention techniques that can be derived from it. It also helps to measure the effectiveness of these programs by looking at it from different perspectives.
It provides framework for collection of data from multiple informants who are in different sub-systems using different methods. The model also can be effectively used for assessment. This is because each individual or the school or the environment is different. Any intervention or prevention program need to take into account this peculiarity. It also provides a framework for different programs that are applicable to different sub-systems such as individual-focussed program, family-focussed program and system-focussed program. (Espelage, et al, 2004).