Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2013 17:30:54 +0100
Subject: Cyber Bullying – Girls Who Bully – Girl Victims of Bullying
What Is Cyber Bullying & How Can I Protect My Daughter:
Girls Who Bully: What, When, Where, Why, & How
Bullying is the most frequently occurring form of violence in American schools. Just about everyone has known girl bullies. The scenario is pretty much the same: A new girl comes to school on the first day and desperately tries to fit in, but the “popular group” immediately senses her insecurity and makes life miserable for her. They sit near her (but not with her) at lunch and talk just loudly enough for her to hear the cruel remarks they are saying about her hair, clothes, and weight. The new girl doesn’t know what she did to make them dislike her, but she already hates this new school-and it’s only the first day.
Many elementary through high school students experience many types of bullying and other social violence daily. Some bullying statistics show that as many as half of all children are bullied at some point in their school years, and at least ten percent are bullied regularly (see www.aacap.org). In addition, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, bullying is the biggest school problem for kids ages eight to fifteen, surpassing even alcohol, drugs, racism, and premarital sex.
What Is Teasing?
Teasing includes occasional peer conflict and is often unintentional. Kids who tease are willing to work together to resolve the conflict. Teasing is usually playful and friendly, and the kids involved are usually of the same social status, so there is no imbalance of power.
What Is Bullying?
Most experts agree that bullying has the following characteristics:
- Bullying is repeated (frequent) intentional actions that bring harm to an individual.
- Bullying involves an imbalance of power between the bully and victim.
- Bullying is a relationship in which one individual seeks to gain power and control over the life of another.
- Types of bullying include verbal taunting, threats, stealing, and acts of physical aggression.
Look for the following evidence if you suspect your daughter might be a victim of bullying:
- Change in appetite or eating habits
- Loss of interest in school and schoolwork, possibly including worsening grades
- Difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep (insomnia)
- Frequent stomachaches, headaches, or other excuses to stay home from school
- Sudden withdrawal from family activities
- Change from happy and secure to moody and depressed
- Torn or blood-stained clothes
- Change in the group of girls she usually hangs out with, especially if her friends suddenly stop coming around
- Sudden need for extra money for school lunches
- Increased anxiety
- Spending more time on the computer and not wanting you to see what she’s doing online
Any one of these behaviors may not be cause for alarm, but several of them combined could signal that your daughter needs your help, so start asking her some questions. Left unchecked, girls who are bullied for a long time can suffer serious problems throughout their lives.
Why Do Girls Bully?
- They’ve learned the habit of bullying at home. Bullies often (but not always) come from homes where they are bullied or abused by their parents or older siblings. Bullying is a way for them to regain some of the control they have lost at home.
- They’re insecure. In many cases, bullying is a cover-up for insecurity.A bully may be sensitive about her weight or the clothes she wears, and bullying other girls allows her to attack them before they attack her.
- They need to feel powerful. Girls who bully need to control and exert power over others.To make themselves seem more powerful, girl bullies often target girls who are passive, easily pushed around, or have very few friends. They often gang up on another girl to demonstrate their control.
- They want to get attention and be popular. Many girls bully to gain attention from their peers. They think that by being mean to others they will become more popular with the “cool” crowd. Unfortunately, this is often true, which makes bullying even more tempting to many girls.
- They have personal issues. Quite often, a girl may bully because she is having troubles at home or at school, which cause her to act out against other girls. Underneath her tough exterior, she is likely to be angry or depressed about other issues in her life.
How Do Girls Bully?
Bullying by girls is usually sneakier and less physical than bullying by boys, although some girls do use physical violence to bully other girls. Other types of bullying include the following:
- Verbal assaults. Girls typically use verbal attacks (name-calling, gossip, insults, etc.) to target their victims. Sometimes these assaults take place in front of the victim. other times, they happen behind the victim’s back.
- Exclusion. One of the most common ways that girls bully is by excluding the victim. Girls often form groups of similar social status and shun other girls who try to join. They either tell the victim to leave them alone or simply walk (or run) away without saying a word to the victim.
- Online attacks. Cyber bullying (online bullying) is becoming a common form of bullying, especially by girls. Cyber bullies use computers to send mean e-mails to their victims and through instant messaging, blogs, and chat rooms. Again, exclusion is used in cyber bullying by simply ignoring certain girls while carrying on conversations with others who are in the “group.”
- Scare tactics. Actions like stealing lunch money (or lunches!) or threatening to take away friendships are ways bullies scare victims into doing what the bullies want. Girl bullies may even use threats of physical punishment to scare victims.
- Phone calls. Anonymous phone calls to the victim’s house are common among girls who bully. The caller may call repeatedly and hang up each time, or she may pretend to be someone else and confuse or scare the victim.
Who Are the Bullies? Who Are the Victims?
Parents often think they can spot the bullies easily, but that’s not always true-especially with girls. Bullies come from all types of homes, ethnic and racial groups, and economic backgrounds. Even girls who are known as “good girls” can be part of a bullying pack. Girls who stand by quietly and go along with a bully simply build up the bully’s power by making it seem that the bully has support all around her. This makes the victim feel as though everyone is against her, including the bully and all her friends.
Like bullies, victims come from all kinds of backgrounds. Victims of bullies often suffer from low self-esteem and may be self-conscious about their appearance. Many lack social skills and the ability to communicate well with other children or adults. Many victims are also sensitive and cry easily.
Outcomes of Bullying
Unfortunately, too many schools blame the victims and say victims bring it on themselves because they cry too easily or are too sensitive. In addition, bullies often warn their victims not to tell anyone “or else,” which scares the victim into silence. Fear of the bullies and embarrassment from being bullied may keep victims from telling parents or teachers about the situation.
Victims of bullying can suffer serious longterm effects if the bullying persists. Here are just some of the possible consequences of bullying:
- Physical ailments (headaches, stomachaches, ulcers)
- Sleep problems
- Academic problems
- Frequent switching of schools
- Low self-esteem
- Weight loss or gain
- Long-term emotional scars
- Serious physical injury
- Property damage (possibly to your home)
- Problems with future relationships
- Violent revenge, aggression
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