Children with a 'Cool' Image Most Likely Bullies
The most famous kid in middle school may turn out to be a bully, according to a recent research. Bullying is when someone uses force to scare others, which could be outright physical abuse or mild mental coercion. The technique might differ but the intention does not.
In the study, 1,895 students were enlisted of different ethnic backgrounds from totally 99 classes covering 11 middle schools across Los Angeles. A survey was conducted during three different sessions; spring of seventh grade, fall of eighth grade and the spring of eighth grade. For the survey, the students were asked to name the coolest kid, the kid who pushes others or initiates a fight, and the kid who spreads ugly rumors.
It was observed that the kids who were named as the coolest turned out to have their name as bullies the next time, and vice versa. This indicated that bullying and spreading of false rumors was encouraged and appreciated in middle school by other students.
The research was led by Jaana Juvonen, a UCLA professor of psychology. Yueyan Wang, a former UCLA psychology graduate student and Guadalupe Espinoza, a UCLA psychology doctoral student, were the co-authors of the study. The research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The research is published online in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
"The ones who are cool bully more, and the ones who bully more are seen as cool. What was particularly interesting was that the form of aggression, whether highly visible and clearly confrontational or not, did not matter. Pushing or shoving and gossiping worked the same for boys and girls. The impetus for the study was to figure out whether aggression promotes social status, or whether those who are perceived as popular abuse their social power and prestige by putting other kids down. We found it works both ways for both 'male typed' and 'female-typed' forms of aggression," Juvonen was quoted as saying in Medicalxpress.
It was also suggested by the authors that in order to stop bullying, the method to do so has to be subtle and sophisticated. A good idea would be to target the other kids who become an audience to such a bullying act. The other solution would be for the parents to outline the serious effect of bullying to their children and also monitor them for any possible behavior change. On the other hand, the child who is a victim of bullying often experiences headache, frequent colds, and other physical and psychological problems.