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Bullying: A Normal Part of Childhood Or A Time for Intervention? Special Report Prepared for the Kent Center School PTA March 30, 1999 Connecticut Voices.

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Presentation on theme: "Bullying: A Normal Part of Childhood Or A Time for Intervention? Special Report Prepared for the Kent Center School PTA March 30, 1999 Connecticut Voices."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bullying: A Normal Part of Childhood Or A Time for Intervention? Special Report Prepared for the Kent Center School PTA March 30, 1999 Connecticut Voices for Children

2 “Childhood is a period of special protection and rights. Our concept of childhood hinges on safety…When children feel safe at home they are ready to grow. When safe in the neighborhood, children are ready to play, explore and form relationships with other children. When they are safe at school, they are ready to learn.” Dr. James Garbarino

3 What is bullying? Bullying is the exposure of one child to negative actions by one or more other children, repeatedly and overtime, with the intent to hurt or embarrass. Bullying behaviors include: pushing, slapping and hitting, rude gestures, verbal threats, teasing, taunting and exclusion.

4 A Few Fast Facts On Bullying ê 15-20% of all students are involved in bullying: 7-10% as victims and 9-15% as bullies ê Occurs most frequently at school, on playgrounds, hallways, bathrooms, classrooms before instruction and the cafeteria ê Younger children more often victims, with highest levels in elementary and middle school

5 Gender and Bullying ê Boys, acting alone or in small groups, are more often bullies than girls, and boys bully both girls and other boys. Girls tend to bully other girls. ê Boys use physical acts of bullying. Girls are more indirect and use exclusion, rumors and the manipulation of friendships to bully.

6 Characteristics of Victims and Bullies ê Victims are younger, smaller, weaker and often more passive. Their behaviors often convey insecurity and a sense of anxiousness. ê Perpetrators are older, stronger and impulsive. They have a need to dominate and control. Bullies are often surrounded by a group of peers, who support the bullying. Bullies often live in families with hostile adult relationships, significant permissiveness but strong physical punishment.

7 When Bullies Are In A Group ê There is a “social contagion” effect in which others follow the bully into action. ê When the victim responds by yielding, crying or giving up, the bully is “rewarded” and inhibition is decreased among other group members and social responsibility is diffused. ê Repeated bullying seems to result in a general perception among group members that the victim “deserves it.”

8 Consequences of Bullying for the Victim ê Children who are victims of bullying in the early grades also report being bullied in later years. ê Chronically victimized children are at increased risk of depression, poor self-esteem and other mental health problems as adults.

9 Consequences of Bullying for the Bully ê Students who chronically bully others are more likely to skip school and to drop out before graduation. ê Students who bully are also more likely to engage in other dangerous acts, including vandalism, fighting, drinking and truancy. Aggressive behaviors in the early years also predicts criminality and violent behavior in adulthood.

10 Teacher Perception and Behavior ê Teachers report intervening in bullying situations three times more often than students say that they intervene. ê Students report that about 60% of elementary school teachers and 40% of high school teachers intervene “sometimes” when bullying occurs.

11 Some Other Facts About Child Safety and Violence ê Children exposed to violence, either as victim or witness, can experience anxiety, stress, anger and depression. ê Children witness over 200,000 acts of violence on television by the age of 18, including 33,000 murders. Violent acts occur 8-12 times per hour in prime time and 20 times per hour on young children’s programming.

12 Facts continued... ê In 1996, there were 18,653 incidents of family violence in Connecticut resulting in an arrest. Children witnessed or were involved in nearly half of these. ê Child abuse and neglect in CT has more than doubled since 1990. Parents are the most frequent perpetrators, and young children are the most frequent victims.

13 Facts continued... ê In a 1996 survey of 12,000 CT 7th, 9th and 11th graders, 12% said they were worried about violence in their homes, and 15% reported worrying about parental drinking and drug use. ê In this survey, 23% of girls and 13% of boys report being abused. These children were 6 times as likely to try suicide, 5 times as likely to carry a weapon, and 2 times as likely to fight, use drugs and have police involvement.

14 Facts continued... ê Family characteristics related to abuse and neglect include lower family income, single parenting, family social isolation, and parental drug use. ê Half of the children born in America in the 1980’s and 1990’s will live apart from a parent. One in four CT children do not now live in a two- parent family.

15 Facts continued... ê Among children who live in a two-parent family, 56% have both parents working. ê Whether in a single parent or two-parent family, parents are working and away from home longer hours.

16 Action Steps for Prevention and Intervention ê Children often do not tell parents when they have been a victim of bullying, or they extract a promise from parents not to intervene. ê Prevention and intervention must occur in the educational setting and include activities for the whole school, all classrooms and with both victims and bullies.

17 For the Full Report... ê A complete Special Report on Bullying will be posted on the CT Voices for Children website -- ê The report will include references, model program descriptions and curriculum references. It may be freely downloaded and copied for distribution.

18 For more information... ê Contact CT Voices for Children at 203.498.4240 for more information or to become a member. ê Connecticut Voices for Children is a non- profit, non-partisan citizen organization committed to improving the well-being of all of CT’s children and youth.

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