Are you aware of acts of bullying going on in your kids' schools? Research shows that students who witness others getting teased and picked on also become victims of bullying. The studies conducted by Richard Hazler and JoLynn Carney, professor and associate professor of counselor education at Penn State University respectively, show that bystanders experience stress and trauma from what they've seen--sometimes even years after the incidents happened.
In one of their studies, which was published in the Journal of Humanistic Counseling, the two researchers employed the School Bullying Survey they formulated to find out how witnessing bullying affects others. They surveyed 91 sixth graders, and their results revealed that all of them experienced constant bullying as either first-hand victims or bystanders. On the witnesses' part, how much they trusted others depended on the amount of bullying they had seen and whether or not they saw someone coming to the victims' aid.
In another study the two professors conducted, this time published in the Journal of School Violence, they measured students' anxiety levels in relation to bullying using the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children. Their data showed that students' cortisol levels decreased before lunch as they anticipated the chances of bullying increasing. This indicates increased stress levels in the body.
"Everyone is impacted both in school and outside of school, and the influences can be life-long,” Hazler is quoted as saying on Penn State Live, Penn State University's official news source. “Our research emphasizes the widespread impact of bullying and implies the need for individual and group interventions to more effectively deal with the problems."
Need more advice for teaching your kids about bullying? Try these:
- Kids are more accepting of peers who try to change "bad" traits
- Bully or Bullied? How your child's problem-solving skills can put an end to childhood torment
(Screencap from Boys Over Flowers courtesy of KBS2)