What is bullying or student harassment?
We could say that bullying is any form of physical, psychological or verbal abuse that a student or group of students do to a schoolmate over a prolonged period of time.
Those who bully do it to impose their power over another through threats, aggression, insults and even harassment, with the aim of keeping the student under their complete control over the course of the school year. In general, and due to the victim’s isolation from all other classmates, the bullying is suffered in silence, which makes it very difficult for parents or teachers to detect it in time.
Types of bullying
Physical: kicking, shoving, throwing objects... This is any direct attack on a classmate, although it may also be indirect, via thefts and material damages to the victim’s personal belongings.
- Verbal: Words have great power and can crush bullied students’ self-esteem through insults, chanting, contempt, humiliation, offensive messages or calls, and the like. This is the most common type of bullying and the damage doesn't leave any physical marks.
- Psychological: its purpose is to cause fear through threats to force the victim to do things they don’t want to and shouldn’t do.
- Social: This occurs when bullies prevent their victim from participating in normal activities among classmates, contributing to the victim’s progressive isolation.
What is the situation like today?
Student bullying is a reality that affects children from all social conditions, both with disabilities and without, at public and private schools, affecting up to 4% of students in some school years, according to the Spanish Ministry of Education.
It is true that awareness is increasingly higher about the need to deal with bullying, as well as the number of initiatives to fight it from the classroom. However, the data revealed by several studies continue to be alarming:
- According to the ANAR Foundation (Help for Children and Adolescents at Risk), cases of student bullying have grown 75% in the last year, with 30.7% of children acknowledging that they never said anything to their parents.
- More than 10% of minors who suffer from bullying have some type of disability (datum from the ADECCO Foundation).
- 60% of students with Asperger syndrome suffer from bullying (servimedia.es).
Therefore, we cannot say that bullying is an isolated matter, but conversely is a widespread fact that our society cannot let happen while we look the other way.