Recent developments in communication technologies complicate the problem of bullying. Using the cyber stalking (or cyber bullying), the stalkers can continue their crimes outside the walls of the school, anonymously or not.
The concept of bullying was coined in the early 1970s by psychologist Dan Olweus in the course of studies in Scandinavian educational institution, after which he established three characters to define harassment:
- The assailant act in a deliberate attempt to injure. This criterion, however, has been challenged, children do not necessarily have the same perception of intentionality as adults;
- The attacks are repeated and long lasting;
- The relationship between the aggressor or aggressors and the victim is asymmetric.
The latter excludes conflicts (fights and arguments) between students: harassment requires that the victim does not consider himself in a position to defend. The practice of bullying is inseparable from the establishment of a position of dominance.
If physical violence is regarded as one of the forms of bullying, it can not be restricted to this type harasent. In his definition, Dan Olweus indicates that in addition to the physical threats, the teasing, ostracism, or the spread of false rumors against the victim should be considered as forms of bullying.
Traditional forms of harassment such as insults, racketeering, dangerous games tend to give way to practices like happy slapping or cyberbullying.
The profiles of bullies and victims are not sufficiently differentiated to be interchangeable, bullies are not victims at other times, and victims do not tend to manifest bullying behavior to others, shows the report on harassment among Canadian students. Other studies however, suggest that there is a significant number of victims / perpetrators: between 20% and 46% of bullying victims reproduce these types of attacks they have (had) to undergo.
The victim is often chosen on the basis of disability, a physical difference (origin, color of skin or hair, overweight) or other (real or attributed homosexuality), any criterion of social difference (richer, poorer, parental occupation). The harassment can also combine these characteristics. The children, who are socially isolated, have fewer friends to defend become victims more often.
A study conducted in the UK showed that 25% of adolescents from ethnic minorities were victims of school bullying against 12 to 13% for the average of the sample. In difficult schools, good students can be harassed for this reason. The typical profile is also characterized by shyness, anxiety or submission.
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