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Bullying has always been an issue, and even though society has become less tolerant of it throughout the years, it still continues to be a major problem for some people. Bullying occurs in many areas of life, but it is particularly common in schools, and even in some workplaces. Technology has made it easier for bullies to target victims, and cyber-bullying makes up most of the bullying statistics in Australia. By conducting interviews with relevant people and researching bullying statistics for this article, my goal was to display a range of different opinions while raising awareness of bullying.

Cyber-Bullying

As a society, we are extremely reliant on technology. We use it to perform a number of different tasks, such as completing school assignments, composing emails, socialising with friends and much more. Technology improves our lives in many ways, but it also has plenty of negative aspects. Bullies often take to technology, such as social media, to perform acts of cyber-bullying on their peers, classmates, colleagues, and sometimes even on people they don’t know.

Cyber-bullying is a cheap and easy way for bullies to target their subjects. According to Bullying Statistics in Australia (2014), 80% of cyber-bullies are also willing to bully their targets in real life. This is concerning, as it means that 20% of bullies would not succumb to bullying if they didn’t have access to social media. Bullies may feel that they are able to avoid repercussions when cyber-bullying, as they can choose to be anonymous online. This makes it easy for bullies to hide behind their screens and continue to act as “keyboard warriors.”

According to findings conducted by Mamamia (2014), who obtained research commissioned by the Abbott Government from a consortium led by the Social Policy Research Centre, 1 in 5 children aged 8 to 15 has experienced cyber-bullying. These are worrying statistics, but they are not surprising. We live in a society that’s at the peak of its technological revolution, and it’s not slowing down any time soon.

Bullying in Schools

Perhaps it’s because children are forced to spend so much time with people that they don’t necessarily get along with, or maybe it’s because young people are still learning right from wrong, but bullying in schools is extremely common. According to Bullying Statistics in Australia (2014), 27% of primary school and high school students have reported being bullied. In 2006, 38% of these students reported bullying, which means that according to this website, bullying has decreased slightly.

I spoke to 18-year-old high school student, Callie Murphy, about her experiences with bullying. “It starts pretty early. Most people don’t remember their pre-school years, but I do. The other kids used to call me ugly and it made me cry,” she said. “By the end of primary school, I’d changed schools three times because I didn’t fit in. High school was by far the worst, though. People were just horrible to me for no reason.”

According to Why Do People Bully? (n.d.), bullies often come from families who have poor upbringings. “This is really hard for me to talk about, but I used to be a bully,” admitted 21-year-old Elise (surname withheld). “When I was about 13, I did all kinds of horrible things to people from my school, and other schools, who I didn’t even know. I’d go online and just abuse them for no reason at all.” Elise admitted that she used to be bullied by her family, so she knows how it feels. “I know it feels awful, but I did it anyway. I think it was kind of like a coping mechanism. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve grown up a lot since then.”

 

Bullying in the Workplace

Although bullying does decrease after high school, you would probably be wrong if you thought that bullying never occurs at work, or in other aspects of adult life. Technology, such as emails, has made workplace bullying easier and quicker than ever before. It is very simple to bully colleagues by sending snide emails about them behind their backs, or sending abusive emails directly to them. Other forms of bulling, such as physical and sexual abuse, have also been known to occur within workplaces.

“My boss used to very nasty to me,” said secretary, Sandra (surname withheld). “She shouted at me in front of our colleagues, when she should have called me into her office. Once, she even sent me a passive aggressive email insulting my new haircut. She couldn’t even say it to my face.” Sandra doesn’t work for the same boss anymore, but she admitted that she has witnessed her former boss treating her new employee in the same manner. “It’s horrible. I tell her (the new employee) to speak to HR, but she’s too nice to do anything about it.”

Are Bystanders Bullies Too?

According to Eyes on Bullying (2008), some bystanders do not interfere with bullying because they believe it’s none of their business, they feel powerless, they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, they don’t know what to do and much more.

People who witness bullying have the ability to prevent it from happening. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to report these problems, especially if your friend is the bully. However, it might be helpful to think about how the person on the other end feels.

“I have witnessed bullying before, but I don’t think that makes me a bully,” said 19-year-old student, Katie (surname withheld). “I just didn’t want them to start bullying me.” Katie said that her friends don’t agree with her beliefs, but that this doesn’t bother her. “Everyone is entitled to their opinions,” she said.

Conclusion

Bullying continues to be a major issue. Although statistics have shown that bullying has decreased in recent years, this may be because many victims do not report many incidents. There’s a lot more awareness of bullying today, and it is very much frowned upon. However, we live in a society where technology allows bullies to violate their victims anonymously, quickly and easily. Bullies can be found everywhere, but they are particularly abundant in schools and workplaces. We need to do everything we can to stop bullying from occurring. We should to raise further awareness of these incidents by campaigning our opinions and thoughts. This may lead to schools and workplaces providing people with better support networks. We should also encourage bystanders and victims to report bullying to authoritative figures, so that they can prevent them from occurring in the future.

References

Eyes on Bullying, Bystander 2008, Eyes on Bullying website, viewed 4 June 2015,
<http://www.eyesonbullying.org/bystander.html>

Elise 2015. Personal interview

Katie 2015. Personal interview

Mama Mia, 1 in 5 Australian kids have experienced this. And the consequences can be devastating 2014, Mama Mia website, viewed 4 June 2015
<http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/cyberbullying-statistics-in-australia/>

Murphy, C 2015. Personal interview

No Bullying, Bullying Statistics in Australia 2014, No Bullying website, viewed 3 June 2015,
<http://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics-in-australia/>

Sandra 2015. Personal interview

Whitten, A 2015. Personal interview

 

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