Peculiarities of Bullying in the Modern Student Environment
- Kharkiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Ukraine
Background and aim of study:
Modern educational area nowadays faced with a spread of such phenomenon as bullying. This problem is not new for Ukraine and foreign countries, but because of its latency is not well researched. Nevertheless, the scientists, who started researching it, already give various definitions for bullying phenomenon. Lane defines bullying as negative impact – violence, emphasizing that bullying is a violence of physical or psychical type that is being observed for a long time from a side of individual person or a group of persons in relation to the person, who cannot protect himself in a specific situation. Berdyshev claims that bullying is not a self-defense for the aggressor and notes the awareness of the violence being committed. Solovyov considers bullying as a variant of destructive conflict interaction, noting that bullying occurs in a small group, in which the violent acts committed against the victim are of continuous recurrent nature. At the same time, Solovyov draws attention to the presence of witnesses of these violent actions. Graham with co- authors notes the presence of an imbalance of forces among the involved participants in bullying, their cruelty towards each other, and the intention to apply physical or psychological harm to the victim, thus defining bullying as a type of social interaction. Proponents of this approach perceive bullying as a type of behavior in a group structure. Bullying founder Olweus defines bullying as a stereotype of group interactions, in which a person over time and repeatedly encounters deliberate self-harm or discomfort from another person or a group of people in the context of “disproportionate “power” relations”. Scientists have different views on the interpretation of the concept, but it should be noted that regardless of the interpretation of the phenomenon, bullying is defined as a form of aggressive interactions. The main idea that unites different points of view on the rhetoric of these studies is that bullying is an act (action or inaction) of participants in the educational process, which consists in psychological, physical, economic, sexual violence, including with the use of electronic devices of communication, committed against a minor, or by such a person in relation to other participants of the educational process, as a result of which mental or physical health of the victim may or has been harmed.
Bullying is manifested through various forms of violence that are committed systematically against the same person. These may be manifestations of: 1) physical violence, including pushing, touching, kicking, fighting, kicking, slapping, hitting and other actions that cause pain and injury, etc.; 2) psychological violence, including insults, spreading false rumors, ridicule, intimidation, isolation, ignoring, boycott, refusal to communicate, threats, manipulation, blackmail, etc.; 3) economic violence, including petty theft, damage or destruction of personal belongings, extortion of money, food, etc.; 4) sexual violence, including insulting gestures, statements, nicknames, jokes, threats, spreading rumors, touching sexual (intimate) and/or content, etc. It should be noted that bullying in the educational environment occurs not only between students. A specific problem in the educational environment is bullying by teachers in relation to students. Such bullying can be manifested through systematic actions: unreasonable underestimation of grades, systematic ignoring of the student’s opinion or actions, hanging labels on the student, insulting words, intimidation. With the development of modern electronic technologies, violent actions (especially manifestations of psychological and sexual violence) in bullying (harassment) are often committed with the help of electronic gadgets. Cyberbullying can take many forms: flaming, assault (repeated abusive text messages, constant calls, etc.), slander (spreading of derogatory false information through text messages, photos, videos using electronic gadgets), fraud or extortion of confidential information (texts, photos, videos and their transmission by the Internet or by mail to those to whom it was not intended), stalking or cyberpursuit (actions of covert surveillance, usually done secretly, anonymously, to cause psychological or physical harm), video recording of real attacks in order to spread them over the Internet, the use of Internet communication for further human actions, including its sexual use or driving bullied person to suicide. The analysis of psychological and pedagogical literature allows us to state that the reasons for bullying in interpersonal relationships can be different factors that can be combined into four groups: personal, family, social, environment. Personal reasons – these are physical or psychological features of the child (individual features of physical, mental, intellectual development, appearance, etc.). Thus, bullying is often initiated by students who have certain individual psychological features and the aggressive behavior provoked by it (attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorder, behavioral disorders, bipolar disorder, oppositional disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and others). Among the family factors that determine a student’s aggressive behavior and can provoke bullying are lack of close relationships with parents, lack of their attention or authoritarian style of communication, parental pressure or abuse. Unfavorable socio-psychological climate in the educational institution, stress from learning due to overload, relationships with classmates and teachers, lack of proper attention from teachers contribute to the emergence of quarrels, conflicts, violence and their transition to bullying. The most common factors that provoke bullying in an educational institution are: Authoritarian learning style. Sometimes lecturers themselves can be the initiators of bullying, when the student is seen as an object of pedagogical influence, rather than an equal partner. The lecturer personally makes decisions, without taking into account the thoughts of the student, establishes strict control over the implementation of their requirements, as a result of written above students lose activity, are characterized by low self-esteem and aggression. In the authoritarian style of teaching, students’ minds are focused on psychological self-defense, rather than on the acquisition of knowledge and personal self- development. When a lecturer uses a system of group punishment, when the whole group is punished for the fault of an individual student, it increases the risk of aggressive behavior among students. The lecturer who mentions any student as a positive or negative example for others often provokes rivalry, which in the future may escalate into bullying of this student. Ignoring the problem at the level of the educational institution. Sometimes the teaching staff of an educational institution refuses to recognize cases of bullying in a group or educational institution as a whole, simply ignoring this phenomenon. This, in one case, can be perceived by students as a norm of behavior, and they will copy this behavior. Feelings of impunity and hopelessness often aggravate the situation with bullying in an educational institution.
All of the above makes it possible to conclude that violence in the educational environment has a different nature and character. It can manifest itself both in the form of one-time and in the form of systematic actions. But these actions always harm the mental and physical health of all participants in this process. The reason for the emergence of bullying in higher education is often a low level of emotional intelligence of students, a low level of skills of proper communication and cooperation, tolerance and acceptance of otherness. The most common consequences of bullying are decreased academic performance, refusal to attend school, and self-injurious behavior. Therefore, in modern higher education, the priority of work on the prevention of harassment and conflict becomes obvious. Preventing bullying and creating a friendly educational environment is not just a process. It is a restructuring of the consciousness of everyone: students, teachers, parents and other members of the educational community.
DOI and UDC:
UDC: 37.015.3:37.032 DOI: 10.26697/ijes.2020.4.4
Information about the authors:
Bielikova Olena Vitaliivna – Senior Lecturer, KNUCEA, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Research interests: higher education pedagogy, psychology, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8580-112X Dytiuk Svitlana Olexiivna – Senior Lecturer, KNUCEA, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Research interests: higher education pedagogy, psychology, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1025-2071 Krech Tetiana Vasylivna – Doctor of Philology, Professor, KNUCEA, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Research interests: higher education pedagogy, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0865-1716