Bullying, a word we often hear but sometimes don’t fully understand. In simple terms, bullying is when someone uses their power to hurt, threaten, or scare another person repeatedly.
It is a big problem in the Philippines. This article aims to help parents, teachers, and students understand bullying better, its various forms, and how we can respond to it effectively.
Types of Bullying
Bullying comes in many shapes and sizes. Let’s talk about the different types to understand them better.
A. Physical Bullying
Physical bullying involves using physical actions to gain power and control over their targets. This could be through hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching, and pushing or damaging someone’s belongings. Examples of physical bullying are broad:
- Juan continually trips Pedro on their way to the canteen.
- Lola takes Bea’s lunch and throws it in the garbage.
- Andres and his friends form a circle around Jose, blocking his way and pushing him around.
B. Verbal Bullying
Verbal bullying involves using words, statements, and name-calling to gain power and control over a target. This can involve:
- Carlos continually refers to Anton as a “loser” in front of their classmates.
- Marita is always told that her answers in class are “dumb” or “stupid”.
- Raul always mocks Miguel’s accent during their Filipino language class.
C. Social (Relational) Bullying
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves the use of relationships to hurt someone. This can occur in the following ways:
- Gina starts a rumor about Joyce, telling others in their friend circle that Joyce is a thief.
- Anton and his friends deliberately exclude Jun from their group activities and lunch hangouts.
- Anna spreads false stories about Maria’s family to other classmates.
Cyberbullying is the use of digital-communication tools (such as the Internet and cell phones) to make another person feel angry, sad, or scared, usually again and again. Some examples of this would be:
- Paolo creates a fake Facebook account and posts embarrassing rumors about Ana.
- Tito sends threatening messages to Leo over Messenger.
- Sara screenshots an awkward photo of Tina and circulates it in their Viber group without Tina’s consent.
E. Prejudicial Bullying
Prejudicial bullying targets people of a certain race, religion, or gender. It can encompass any of the above forms of bullying and involves prejudices that kids have against certain types of people:
- Rodel is always teased and left out because he comes from a different religion.
- Bella is targeted with derogatory terms because of her skin color.
- Greg is cyberbullied because of his sexual orientation, with peers posting homophobic slurs on his social media profiles.
By recognizing and understanding these forms of bullying, we can take the first step in creating safer environments for children to grow and learn.
Strategies for Prevention and Intervention
Bullying is a serious problem, but there are ways we can fight it. Here are some strategies that can help.
A. For Parents: How to Recognize and Address Bullying
Parents can play a big role in stopping bullying.
Try to observe if your child shows signs of being bullied – like coming home with unexplained injuries, damaged belongings, or seems upset, withdrawn, or scared.
If your child tells you about the bullying, listen carefully and take it seriously.
It’s important to comfort them, let them know it’s not their fault, and talk about what steps to take next.
B. For Teachers: Effective Classroom Strategies Against Bullying
Teachers can help prevent bullying in the classroom. Set clear rules about behavior and enforce them consistently. Encourage students to respect each other’s differences.
And if you see or hear about bullying happening, act immediately.
Communicate with parents about any bullying incidents.
C. For Students: Self-Defense, Empathy, and Assertiveness
If you’re a student and you’re being bullied, remember: you’re not alone and it’s not your fault.
Tell an adult you trust about the bullying. Try to stay calm and confidently tell the bully to stop. If you see someone being bullied, stand up for them if it’s safe to do so, or report it to a trusted adult.
Show empathy and support to those who are being bullied.
The fight against bullying is not easy, but it is a fight that we must take on together. Understanding the many forms of bullying is our first step.
Remember, everyone has a role to play – parents, teachers, and students alike.
Recognize the signs of bullying and knowing how to respond, we can create a safer and more caring environment for everyone.
There are resources available to help us in the fight against bullying.
Hotlines and Websites for Bullying Support and Reporting in the Philippines
You can call the Child Protection Unit at (02) 8526-0452 if you need help. The Philippine Mental Health Association also offers support, you can call them at (02) 8921-4958. There are also websites like Stairway Foundation Inc., where you can learn more about child rights and safety.
Further Reading and Helpful Materials for Parents, Teachers, and Students
You can find more information about bullying and how to prevent it in books and online resources. Some recommended readings include
- “Bullying Prevention and Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools” by Swearer, Espelage, and Napolitano,
- “Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying” by Hinduja and Patchin.
- Online resources like StopBullying.gov also provide a wealth of information and helpful tips.
The fight against bullying is a collective effort. Working together, we can help create a safe and supportive environment for all.
Bullying has many faces, but by knowing its forms and strategies to combat it, we can each play our part in tackling this issue.
Let’s stand together against bullying, today and every day.