Bullying is the abuse and aggression in the school of some students in front of one who suffers in solitude. Produces fear and repulses to go to school in the child who suffers it. And it produces aggression and anti-social behaviors in the one who violates it.
It happens daily with thousands of children, in almost all schools. (The National Association of Education of the United States estimates that daily 160,000 children are absent from school because they are afraid of being harassed). It is a social scourge of the 21st century in developed countries. Help your child not become the victim of others and take care he does not become anyone’s aggressor. Because in the case of bullying, everyone loses: first of all, the dignity of being a person. Secondly, self-esteem. Thirdly, it lowers school performance.
According to the Cisneros study on violence and bullying in Spain, made among 25,000 students from 2º from primary to high school in public centers, private and concerted from 14 different regions, more than 500,000 children in Spain suffer a degree of intense harassment. The study also reveals that the risk of suffering bullying is multiplied by four in children who are 7 or 8 years old and decreases progressively through high school.
Interview in the program Hoy por Hoy Madrid
How to detect the situations of cyberbullying?
There are various signs or manifestations in young people and teenagers that can help us realize that they are being victims of cyberbullying or grooming.
In the case of cyberbullying, there are several «alerts». As the psychologist and bullying expert José María Avilés points out, there are important changes in the habits and customs of the young child or teenagers with regards to his previous behavior. For example, there are problems in the regularity of class attendance and concentration in the study; they change the times and direction of their relationships within the peer group; and you may even observe changes in food behavior, health balance, or moods.
In the case of grooming, these manifestations are similar, but may be emphasized by the fear or blackmail that the child may be suffering from an adult. In both cases, Avilés notes that the first steps to give are «communication, avoid guilt and give confidence”. Waiting some time, fear, virtual confrontation, or indifference are ineffective responses that can only aggravate the situation. It is necessary to think of other forms of action that help to really solve the conflict: to document the case in depth; seek support and confirm our research; try to avoid problematic situations; blocking the communication pathways between harasser and victim; and to seek at all times the coordination between the school and the family, especially in the case of cyberbullying.
Guidelines published by the National Institute of Communication Technologies (INTECO)
Cyberbullying is the abuse and aggression through the computer. It’s the harassment at home through the screen. A serious and frequent topic among teenagers. The National Institute of Communication Technologies of Spain (INTECO), through the Office of security of the Internet User (OSI), has elaborated the «Guide of Action against cyberbullying».
• Guide on Adolescence and sexting: what it is and how to prevent it
• Guide for parents on the use of video games by children
• Guide on Cyberbullying and Grooming
• Legal guide on social networks, minors and network privacy
So your child is not a victim:
From the first months:
• Promote his self-esteem
• Strenghten his will power
• Create in him habits of value
• Develop honesty
• Give him the ability to react to adversity
• Take care of his ability to relate socially
• Teach him to smile and laugh
So your child does not become an aggressor:
• Children who are aggressive with others may have been or are victims of aggressions in their own home. Don’t be aggressive with your son, not even verbally.
• Without a doubt the multiplicity of aggressive actions that the children and teenagers see from, practically the cradle, especially in TV, later in the cinema and especially in video games, are a factor that disrupts the infantile behaviors making violence attractive.
Whether violence is successful in achieving many goals, either because the protagonist is the one who exerts violence as a form of power, the case is that the average teenager in recent surveys shows a moral indigestion in the issue of violence.
Sometimes the teenager sees himself as an aggressor and others as a victim. What can be done? The first measure is watching less television, less cinema, less hours of Vidieoconsola, having more control over him.
From a very young age, from the first year of life, it is necessary to teach with sweetness. Setting an example is the best and easiest way children can learn a lesson.
Children can show violent behavior even from pre-school age. Parents and other adults who witness this behavior may be concerned about the child, but usually «they expect him to overcome it while growing up». You have to take very seriously an aggressive behavior in a child, no matter his age. It should not be ruled out by saying that he is «going through a phase».
The range of the violent behaviour
Violent behavior in children and teenagers can include a wide range of behavior: explosive outbursts of anger, physical aggression, fights, threats or attempts to injure others (including homicidal thoughts), use of firearms, cruelty to animals, fires, intentional destruction of property and vandalism.
Factors that increase the risk of violence
Many researchs have come to the conclusion that there is a complex interaction or a combination of factors that lead to an increase in the risk of violent behavior in children and teenagers. These factors include:
Aggressive behavior or previous violence
• Being the victim of physical and/or sexual abuse;
• Exposure to domestic violence and/or in the community;
• Genetic factors (hereditary in the family);
• Exposure to violence in the media (television, radio, etc.);
• Use of drugs and/or alcohol;
• Presence of firearms in the house;
• Combination of socio-economic stress factors in the family (poverty, lack of means, severe deprivation);
• Marital separation, divorce, single parent, unemployment, and lack of support from the family
• Brain damage due to head injuries.
What are the «warning signs» of child violence? Risk factors in children who present the following in their behavior and which should be carefully assessed:
• Intense anger,
• Attacks of fury or tantrums,
• Extreme irritability,
• Extreme impulsivity,
• Frustrating easily.
Parents and teachers should be careful not to minimize this behavior in children.
What to do if the child shows a violent behaviour
When the parent or other adult is concerned, he must immediately arrange for a complete and comprehensive assessment by a qualified mental health professional to be made to the child. Timely treatment by a professional can often help. Treatment objectives typically focus on: helping the child learn how to control his anger, express frustration and anger in an appropriate manner, take responsibility for his actions, and accept the consequences. In addition, family conflicts, school problems, and community affairs should be addressed.
Can child violent behavior be prevented?
Research studies show that most violent behavior can be reduced or prevented by reducing or eliminating the risk factors listed above
More importantly, efforts should be directed at dramatically reducing child or teenager exposure to domestic, community, and media violence. It is clear that violence encourages violence.
• Attention to child abuse from the educational field
• Daily life Skills Program – M.A. Verdugo, Ed. Amarú. Salamanca 2000
• Bullying and school violence in Spain. Informe Cisneros X. Araceli Oñate, Iñaki Piñuel, Ed. TEA 2006
• School Bullying Blog
• One in four students suffer from school bullying
• The child as a victim of crimes
• Fundacion ANAR
• Bullying Helpline
• Jokin’s look
• The Shelter