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Academic Studies on Bullying Hit – and Miss – the Mark

Article on Bullying from Economist

A blog on The Economist featured an article with the headline, "Prevention is the Cure" when it comes to bullying.

The person interviewed for the article, Maria Ttofi, is a lecturer in psychological criminology and research fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University. She cites several academic studies and findings in this interview:

1. She defines bullying as, "Victimization without provocation." She also says that "Relational bullying, like exclusion, can be even more torturing than physical bullying."

2. Bullies are two times more likely to be involved in violent crimes as adults, with the average being 6 -7 years later.

3. Victims of bullying are 50% more likely to become depressed later in life.

4. She views bullying prevention as a way of crime prevention in the future.

5. Children who bully are more likely to come from dysfunctional families, with emotionally distant fathers, lack of warmth at home and yelling and/or dysfunction between the parents.

6. Victims of bullying tend to come from over-protective families.

7. The more discipline that is evident in free times at school – such as on the playground – the less incidents there are of bullying.

8. She thinks it is safe to assume that there is an evolutionary component to bullying, but she believes the first line of defense is awareness, as studies show that bystanders can get involved and intervene to help stop bullying, if they are educated to do so.

There are many great points in this article, and the article has links to several of the academic studies that were used to gather data. It is great that they have all this data and can tell you causes, outcomes and so on; but – there is one thing that is a glaring omission from the studies and this article…

Where is the information on WHAT TO DO when you are bullied and HOW TO PREPARE for it?

This is the key ingredient that is missing. We all know bullying is wrong. We can guess at the reasons people do it. We know that it hurts victims in the short-term and long-term; we don't need studies to tell us all of this. It is like having academic studies on murderers and victims of the crimes. Education and awareness is important – I am not taking away from those things - but it gets to a point where you have to answer the question, "What are you going to DO about it?"

Bullying is not going away; it is in our DNA. Rather than try to get it to stop or go away, let's make sure we are aware, educated and prepared for it when it happens. Then we won't have to rely on someone or something else to come an save the day, or worry about if we are going to get depressed in the future and so on.

The best defense is a good offense. Be proactive instead of reactive.

Stay Strong,

Sensei

 

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