An Analysis of the Bullying of Children and Its Sociological and Psychological Effects

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Time and again children have difficulties with dealing with anxiety issues when it comes to making new friends at school, especially the first day of school or be it changing schools. Many of these children fear that they may struggle to fit in the new social environment. Furthermore, most children fear being weird or different from others and most of all being bullied by other children. According to (Tanith,2016) some children come into the world with fewer social skills than others making it even difficult to fit in hence, children with social abilities tend to dominate their peer groups

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The phenomenon of bullying exist as an insidious and antisocial behavior which traumatizes children leaving them with physical and psycho social health problems (Ruffin, 2017). However, Bullying as a phenomenon that can be described as aggression associated with violent act, when the stronger individual uses their position to intimidate or torment the weaker individual.

Bullying can also be defined as aggressive behavior, with the intention of harming others by destroying interpersonal relationship, manipulating others and destroying people’s reputation. This phenomena of bullying consequently causes psychological and sociological harm especially to children (Reijntjes et al., 2011).


Bullying is a growing concern globally and in the past few decades there has been an increasing concern that children act out in schools. However this proposal seeks to investigate the topic of bullying in Children, as to make an analysis of how children may suffer from some sociological and psychological effects (Delara, 2014).

The problem under investigation, will be understood by means of the origins of bullying which is associated with the desire to survive due to the limited resources that were available. In other words, survival is associated directly with competition due to the multitude of species and limited natural resources on the planet. This desire to survive is instinctual and common among all living things. Since the beginning of time there has been a constant drive to out-perform others and overcome obstacles (Kann, 2008).

In addition to the above definition, it is rather necessary to understand the types of bullying that are out there. Overt bullying which involves physical actions such as punching or kicking and observable verbal action such as name calling and insulting. Then there is indirect bullying which is one of the most damaging types of bullying, this is when one person or a group of people undermines you or try to ruin your reputation by spreading lies. Finally, rational bullying is the type of bullying in which harm is caused by damaging individuals’ relationship or social status (Harachi, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1999).

The bullying phenomenon has received a great deal of attention on the media, this is because bullying can lead to psychological problems. These problems are anxiety, self-esteem, depression and even suicide attempt. However, as a result this form of behavior is exercised repeatedly such that it causes another person injury or discomfort.

Furthermore, Research by Espilage in the U.S shows that 17% of children bully other children on a regular basis, which is 60 incidences in a month. In addition to that 15% are victimized children of bullying. These are withdrawn as they become depressed and become bullies themselves. Then there is the other 60% of the children who are witnesses to bullying. These are called by standers, they too are affected by bullying (Espilage, 2013).

However, Milman argues that it has been a great concern to teachers that they spend more time trying to control behavior of student than they do actually teaching them. (Milman et al., 1980). The author further states that 23 to 31 percent of them are judged by their teachers to have behavior problem. In addition, the author’s research shows that bullying causes low self-esteem, engineering anxiety, shame, frustration, and unhappiness for a majority of children.

Likewise an estimated 200 million children and youth around the world are being victimized by their peers. It is estimated that 10-15 % of children repeatedly bully others, and 10-15% of children are repeatedly bullied. However younger children in elementary and middle schools are more likely to bully others than older children in high school. Generally, there is a decrease in bullying as children grow older (Jackson 2004). It is vital to note that this research will either come to an agreement or disagreement with the findings of the author as the Zambian study may be different.

In addition, physical bullying among the youth, is often considered a normal aspect of childhood development and children exposed to any form of deviant behavior are most likely to engage in bullying (Muñoz, 2011). In agreement with the author, one would argue that what children are exposed to during their childhood affects them as they grow, as such, being exposed to violent or deviant behavior may be one of the causes of bulling among children.

Furthermore, bullying is often attributed to personality and family characteristics in children as learned behavior. To be specific, it is argued that bullies possess a hot-tempered, impulsive and temperament behavior as a common trait. Such that this behavior is reinforced by growing up in a family that tolerates aggression and the use of power-assertive discipline as corporal punishment. (Carney & Merrell, 2001; Olweus, 1980). In agreement with the author, one’s behavior is learnt through the family as a social institution. Thus, where one is prohibited by older family members to engage in certain activities such a fighting, or bullying, the behavior will most likely not be repeated. But where the family members especially parents tolerate such behavior, the child will deem it to be socially accepted by the society even though it is not. This then may enable such a child to go ahead and bully other children at school.

In addition, being bullied by peers (victimization) has been linked with poor physical health and poor school adjustment, including being unhappy, feeling unsafe, performing poorly and, in some cases, dropping out of school (Baum, 2011). One may rightly agree that these are some of the effects of bullying in schools. This research, however, will focus on the effects of bullying in schools in the Zambian context.

However, a growing body of literature suggests that childhood exposure to violence and traumatic stressors has both long and short term consequences for multiple health behaviors. Whereas the psychological effects of bullying can range from verbal to social exclusion in children. As a result of this, a lot of children are growing tired of the psychological torment and most children express how bullying hurts them as well as changes them from being themselves. (Brown et al, 2008).

The Ministry of Education among educational administrators and teachers in Zambia is further looking into the deviant behavior of school children. This includes substance abuse, vandalism, crime, class boycott, demonstrations, violence, use of abusive language, and many other vices perpetrated by pupils. Since pupils spend much of their time in school, schools are expected to assume a much broader approach to character development than other social institutions. It is for this reason that this research paper focuses on the bullying of children in schools.

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