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Bullying: Prevention and Recognition

Updated: May 22

Bullying has been a burning issue across Europe in recent decades. News of extreme cases of bullying travels and is reported on TV and social media. 81.5% of students asked in a survey carried out under the Erasmus+ funded Future Integrity Leaders project said they had witnessed or experienced bullying..

But to truly understand the phenomenon of bullying, we first need to define what bullying is and what it isn’t.

Bullying is deliberate, unprovoked, and repeated aggressive behavior (physical and psychological) by someone or a group towards someone they perceive to be weak.

Bullying is not honest banter between classmates and friends (where both having fun) or fights between people of the same psychological and physical strength.

Are there signs we can recognize in a child experiencing bullying?

Bullying may not be easily noticed by parents or educational staff, but certain signs may be present in children who experience such unpleasant situations. In particular, it may be observed that the child returns home with soiled or torn clothes, appears to be hungry, loses money or objects in an alarming manner, and gives strange explanations for unexplained beatings.

In addition, the child may display sudden outbursts of anger, resort to absence and refuse to go to school, or pretend to be sick. In addition, the child may experience nightmares and there may be a sudden decline in performance at school. These signs may indicate the existence of problems stemming from bullying and require careful monitoring and support from parents and teachers.

Early recognition that a child is experiencing bullying can help us to take the necessary action so that we can prevent further incidents and also help us decide on how to approach and change the behavior of bullies.

Can we identify children who bully?

Children who are frequently involved in bullying may have a strong, outgoing personality and impulsive behavior. In addition, they are characterized by a lack of tolerance for diversity and a manipulative attitude, often without empathy for the feelings of others.

These children may alternate between victim-victim roles, creating an insecure and unstable dynamic in their social relationships. They often justify their bullying actions in response to what they perceive to be challenges from their victims, trying to minimize the consequences for the victims and justify their behavior.

Is there a way to prevent bullying?

Although there is not an accurate way on how to prevent bullying, schools and teaching staff can take some steps to help tackle it. First, informing and raising awareness of bullying among parents and students is a key step.

Next, creating a safe environment for all children is essential, with setting clear rules for the safety and well-being of all students. Careful supervision by teaching staff during recesses can help to identify incidents of bullying early.

In addition, encouraging children and parents to maintain open communication with teachers is an important element. Finally, setting up educational workshops on topics such as resolving disagreements and improving communication can help to create a healthy school environment.

Preventing bullying requires constant effort and dedication on the part of the teaching staff. Only in this way can significant benefits be achieved, both for students and their school environment.

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