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Preventing the Causes of Bullying with Preventative School Technology

It used to be that the only concern students had in school were the three Rs: reading, writing, and “rithemtic.”

However, far too many students now are worrying about another set of three letters: the three Bs. There’s nothing funny about these: the bully, the bullied, and the bystander.

There are some not so fun facts about bullying. Take, for example, this roll call of bullying:

  • In 2017, around 20% of students aged 12-18 experienced bullying, according to a National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice report.
  • A 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 19% of students were bullied on school property in the 12 months before the survey.
  • A Bradshaw, Sawyer, and O’Brennan study reported that 30% of young people admitted to bullying others.
  • According to the National Association of School Psychologists study by Fried and Fried, 160,000 students per day stay home from school because of bullying.
  • One in ten students drops out of school or change schools because of repeated bullying.

And this is only a small sampling regarding those three Bs. They’re not very pretty. There need to be ways to prevent bullying in the first place.

The Bystander to Bullying

With bullying, there is a good chance that there are others who are watching the incidents, even if it’s online. Here are some fast facts about those who witness bullying in action:

  • 70.6% of students say that they have seen bullying in their schools.
  • Students aren’t the only ones who witness bullying. 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying in the last month, while 41% see it once a week or more.
  • When bullying occurs, there are 80% of bystanders there at a time.
  • On a more positive note, if a bystander(s) intervene, 57% of incidences stop within 10 seconds.

Often, bystanders do nothing in the eyes of the bullied. Most want to do something, but fail to do so due to fear of retaliation or becoming a victim themselves.

However, bystanders can help end a bullying event. They can redirect the incident by changing the subject, saying something funny or questioning the action; using strength in numbers as a group to end the bully’s power and attention-seeking behavior, or start booing instead of clapping and shouting to egg the bully on.

The Causes of Bullying

What makes a bully is complex. There are several causes of bullying that have been brought to the forefront:

  • The bully is bullied by someone else.
  • The bully has difficulty following rules.
  • The bully is jealous of their victim.
  • There’s a lack of understanding regarding their actions.
  • There is a prejudice that focuses the bully’s actions toward those who are of a different race or diversity, appearance, religion, or on those with disabilities, special needs, health problems, or different sexual orientations.
  • The bully is looking for attention.
  • The bully enjoys involving other students in their bullying behaviors.
  • The bully has friends who also bully.
  • The bully has little or no affection at home.
  • The home environment condones bullying.
  • The bully may have a chaotic or abusive home life.
  • They bully seeks control or power over the individual being bullied.
  • The bully is unable to regulate their emotions.
  • Their behavior is rewarded from taking the bullied student’s money or personal belongings, or with popularity from peers.
  • The bully doesn’t care how others feel.
  • They want to win at any cost.
  • They refuse to cooperate.
  • They fail to engage in prosocial skills such as helping behaviors.

The Effects of Bullying

Effects of bullying on the victims

The effects of bullying on the victims are manifested in a number of ways. Bullied students:

  • Complain of a variety of health symptoms like headaches or stomach aches either before and/or after school
  • Fake illnesses
  • Become fearful, sad, or moody
  • Have little or no appetite or are binge eating
  • Become anxious
  • Become depressed
  • Do poorly in school or lose interest in school
  • Are unable to sleep or complain of bad dreams
  • Have unexplained cuts, bruises, or scratches
  • Don’t want to use the phone or the internet
  • Come home with missing or damaged belongings

Effects of bullying on the victims in later life

The effects of bullying and cyberbullying can continue well into adulthood. It can have long-lasting effects on mental health and social life for the victim.

The victim may have trouble with grades and overall academic performance in college. There can be persistent anger and a feeling of wanting retaliation. There can be a higher risk of substance abuse, and poor employment performance.

There is also the possibility of increased mental health problems like anxiety, panic disorders, depression, and suicidal ideation.

Effects of behaviors on the bullies

One might not think that the bullies themselves have any short or long term effects from their behavior. However, nothing is further from the truth.

As a student, once the bullying behavior is identified and confronted, the bully can themselves experience anxiety and psychological distress. They may begin to abuse alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or engage in early sexual behavior. The bully may have run-ins with the law from vandalism, fighting, shoplifting, and traffic violations. They may be more prone to carry weapons and engage in more anti-social behaviors.

According to Professor Dan Olweus, bullying can lead to criminal behavior later in life. Sixty percent of boys who were bullies in grades 6 through 9 were convicted of at least one crime as adults. Thirty-five to forty percent had three or more convictions by the age of 24.

The effects of bullying on the bystanders

While there are effects of bullying on both the bullied and the bully, there are also effects on bystanders. According to Cameron Pediatric Counseling, these students can suffer from fear and anxiety about becoming the next victim, depression because they’re unable to handle the emotions from what they are seeing, uncertainty because they know bullying is wrong, guilt from not intervening, and insecurity because they’ll feel helpless if the bullying happens again.

The Learning Needs and Interventions

The Education and Development Center (EDC) recognizes the risk factors, learning needs, and interventions for the bullied, bullies, and bystanders.

The bully

For the student who is identified as a bully, interventions need to take place. Intervention works to prevent the bullying behavior from continuing and escalating, showing that the behavior is not allowed and won’t be tolerated.

Children who bully need to develop proper social skills such as cooperation and empathy. Those who are able to empathize will realize that bullying hurts. When they learn how to cooperate, they will tend to include other children in their activities.

The bullied

Students who are bullied often need help in making friends and joining social groups. They’ll have to develop, practice, and use assertiveness skills with assistance from their teachers. This way, they can respond to a bully effectively and as a result, be less likely to be targeted.

The bystanders

Those who see bullying should know they have the power to stop it. They need to practice problem-solving and assertiveness to help them stand up to their peers and still feel safe. They should learn how to solve problems without responding aggressively.

These skills and several others will form what is taught in social and emotional learning, or SEL.

Preventative Strategy and Technology to Proactively Prevent the Causes of Bullying

There is a strategy and a technology in place that proactively prevent the causes of bullying. One of these is social and emotional learning (SEL).

What is SEL?

Because of multiple issues bullying presents for the bully, the bullied, and the bystander, a key component is to address behaviors by changing the students’ social and emotional skills.

SEL refers to a wide range of skills, attitudes, and behaviors that can affect a student’s success in school and life. It focuses on core social and emotional skills that are particularly important for bullying prevention. These include empathy, emotion management, making responsible decisions, and social problem-solving. Students learn friendship building that are particularly valuable to the bully and the victim. Students also learn how to be assertive, which are crucial skills in preventing the causes of bullying.

It’s comprised of five competencies that help students with their life challenges and thrive in their social and learning environments.

The core skill sets include:

  • Self-awareness – Students learn to know their strengths and limitations and how bullying will relate to them.
  • Self-management – Students learn how to control their impulses like anger, manage stress from worry or fear, and set personal goals.
  • Social awareness – They learn how to understand and change their perceptions of others and how to empathize with them, especially with those from backgrounds and cultures who are different from themselves. Bullies are less likely to bully and the bystanders are more likely to respond to a bullying event.
  • Relationship skills – Since students involved in bullying lack various social skills, relationship skills teach them to communicate clearly, cooperate well with others, negotiate conflicts, resist inappropriate social pressures, and seek and offer help when it’s needed, if and when they need to intervene or approach teachers for help.
  • Responsible decision-making – Students will learn how to make choices regarding their personal behavior and social interactions based on what is considered acceptable and appropriate behavior.

SEL works to prevent the causes of bullying when its core skills are implemented. It can go hand-in-hand with a smart technology that proactively addresses student behaviors in schools.

Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE)

Bullying can take place in the classroom, in the hallways, or on school grounds. ScholarChip Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE) focuses on flagging those at-risk students through data-driven reports, making automated student referrals and interventions for students showing negative behaviors, including those who are bullying fellow students.

Referrals seamlessly align with specialized ABE interventions based on student infraction details and previous incidents. Teachers can track and print minor infractions to create documentation for parent-teacher conferences and meetings.

ABE’s interventions teach students better behavior through a series of personalized and modifiable modules containing over 50 age-appropriate, offense-based behaviors. Positive behavior is met with rewards. The student is also monitored throughout his or her career.

If a student fails a particular module or answers a number of questions inappropriately, automatic notifications are sent to teachers and administrators.

ScholarChip ABE aligns with RTI Behavior and Tiered Interventions, and alongside the Progress Monitoring too, positive reinforcement utilization is necessary for PBIS schools. There are parent portals so parents can access referral documentation or reasoning for an assigned intervention as well as track their child’s progress.

ABE also incorporates a full spectrum of classroom management tools that align and integrate with PowerSchool®.”

Prevent Behaviors That Cause Bullying

Bullying is a serious problem throughout our country’s schools with many causes of bullying that exist. The three Bs of bullying should never be part of the school environment. Schools need to proactively work to prevent bullying behaviors through the use of SEL and ABE interventions. ScholarChip provides the technology that help schools and teachers manage the behaviors that cause bullying.

To learn more about how you can prevent the causes of school bullying, schedule a 1-on-1 strategy session with one of our specialists today!