Bullying programs not as effective, may be counterproductive

Sara Davis, Staff Writer

Think back to your previous schooling experiences. Do you happen to remember having a program on bullying awareness? If so, take the memories a step further and think of the effects from these programs. Did the level of bullying decrease after the programs, or did it increase? It is common to think that these problems would decrease after the programs, but this is not always the case.

According to Time Ideas, a new study published in the Journal of Criminology suggests that the anti-bullying programs that have become popular in many schools may not be as useful as previously thought.

In this particular study, the authors examined 7000 kids at 195 different schools to try to determine child and school influences on bullying.

Although one might think that the amount of bullying would decline, the authors found that children who attended schools with anti-bullying programs were more likely to experience bullying than children who attended schools without the bullying programs.

Although it seems obvious that these programs should help, when you think about the reasons why the programs could be harmful, the bullying programs do not appear to be as good of an idea that was originally intended.

After reading about this study, it was difficult to not think of bullying as a double edged sword.

If you have ever heard of the saying “Monkey see, monkey do,” bullying programs may tend to fit in with this saying.

Although bullying is present in most schools and almost every child has been exposed to some type of bullying, it may be possible that these programs could actually be influencing bullying.

Think about this scenario. A child is in school and is thinking about going home to play video games or going to his soccer game. At this point bullying might not be on his mind, but after attending a bullying program at school the idea may be present in his mind.

Could it also be that perhaps after the children are exposed to these types of programs that they think bullying is the “cool” thing to do? Or, maybe they never entertained the idea of bullying idea, but the next time they become angry they will remember the program and be inclined to bully someone.

Even though these scenarios could happen, it is unclear that the solution to this problem would be eliminating bullying programs altogether. What about those children who are fully aware of bullying, and need to be reminded that there are other methods of solving their problems?

According to Time Ideas, bullying programs that attempt to understand the motives behind bullying, focus on reinforcing positive behavior among students while also training staff to address all aggression and not just bullying, may have the be more successful than other bullying programs.

That being said, if a school is experiencing high amounts of bullying, should they participate in these types of programs? If the bullying problem is let go, the students may feel that the bullying is acceptable and the problem will continue or become worse.  If you don’t tell a child to stop, they may think that their behaviors are acceptable and “cool.”

After seeing both ends of the scenario, it is difficult to tell how we should solve the bullying problem.

Nobody wants to make the problem escalate by reminding the children of what bullying is by having them participate in programs, but nobody wants to push the problem under the rug by not addressing the problem and making it worse.

Perhaps schools should only show the videos to children who have been reported as bullies.

Maybe the schools should take the situation under consideration at their own pace.

Either way, bullying is not okay and needs to be put to an end in all schools.