This study examines the extent of bullying among teenagers and adolescents; it seeks to know how this affects the victims of bullying in the long term. It also explores long-term effects on both mental and physical health of the victims. It also aims at evaluating strategies for preventing such problems. Although bullying is identified with emotional and physical harassment by either a group of people or a person, other forms of bullying are such as cyber bullying (where people use technology), social platforms, and usage of text messages to harm others emotionally. Bullying like many other social phenomena, is self enforcing in that a bullied child will lose his or her self esteem thus making him an easier and more prone to other bullies prey.
Bullies target their victims on observing various characteristic that may point out at the victim’s vulnerability. These may include lack of assertiveness, low self-esteem, withdrawal, anxiety, depression etc. Therefore, bullying has been characterized with psychological problems such as depressions, suicide and even bodily harm. It is believed that teenagers who have been bullied by cyber bullies tend to have higher levels of depression than those subjected to other forms of bullying.
However, lack of adequate supervision in schools creates conflicts, indiscipline among students leading to bullying. Bullying could be either light or chronic, study shows that chronic bullying has long-term effects on mental health that may continue to adulthood. This is because bullying contributes to high levels of psychological health challenges and social adjustments such as high levels of distress and poor physical health.
Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined to clarify and understand the study well.
Bullying is the emotional or physical harassment by either a group of people or a person.
Cyber bullying is a type of bullying where people use technology to harm others emotionally.
The study assumed that all questions taken by the participants were accurate and as honest as possible.
Bullying is a very common thing in schools and in everyday interactions for teenage boys and girls. The sensitive nature of these young adults at this age is what produces bullies as well as the many victims of these bullies. This phenomenon is very important to understand for social developers, psychiatrists and psychologists hence, there is a need to understand the effects of bullying on the teenagers. For instance, it is necessary to answer question, is teenage bullying a fundamental cornerstone in the social development of teenagers and thus eventually all adults, or do many of these teenage victims of bullies manage to overcome the effects of bullies and achieve positive social and psychological development regardless of bullying? Given the sensitive nature of the teenage years of a person, is bullying at teenage more destructive than in much younger years?
This study will be done based on two general hypotheses
Bullying at teenage will have much more impact in handling the mental and psychological challenges that bullying presents to the victims.
Teenagers, who have had an experience with bullies at a much younger age or before teenage, will be more likely to resist and handle bullying more positively, thus avoid the psychological damage that bullying presents.
Considering the nature of this study and the data required, a longitudinal study would be best fitted so that it may provide a clear view of the issue at hand. However, given the limitation in terms of time, the best thing would be to find a faster way of establishing the facts. The main purpose of the study is to identify how age factors and the way bullying affect the victims. This would require a long time over which such victims would be observed. However, due to limitation of time and space, the study will take another direction and try to get a reliable sample that will be examined to identify how teenagers are affected by bullying and how bullying at preteen years can help the teenager overcome the pressure of bullying.
Sampling of Data
The sampling of data will take the most natural way to establish a sample that is most representative of the larger population. The study will look for young adults of ages 20-27 years. These adults will be chosen at random in two different ways.
Picking from Families
Data will be collected from families on a door-to-door process. Each household will only be allowed to provide one member to be the subject of the study. To avoid biases in the selection of this subject, the condition for selecting the subject will be as follows:-
- The subject must be of age 20-27 years
- In cases where more than one family member has age which falls within this age bracket, the mean of their age will be taken and the member, whose age is closest to the mean must be the one to be picked as the subject for the study.
- Gender will not be a factor to be considered in the above criterion
- If the qualified member does not wish to participate in the study, another member of the same family cannot be used. This means that such a family cannot provide a subject for the data.
- No exceptions to be made for all these requirements
This sampling was done randomly and therefore family background and relations was not considered as a factor in qualifying the subject.
- Must be of age between 20-27 years.
- The subject must be fully aware of the purpose for which he or she is answering the question and how he or she is participating.
- The subject must also be willing to participate and no incentives will be provided for the study.
The study must have a valid and equal sample size for both females and males.
Questions to be used in identifying the effects of bullying
- Do you consider yourself to have been bullied in your earlier years before the age 12 years?
- Do you consider yourself to have been bullied in your teenage years?
- Has that had anything to do with your psychological development?
- Do you take alcohol?
- Do you either in the past or in the present use any form of non prescriptive or illegal drugs?
- Do you think that bullying shaped you into the person you are today?
- Have you ever sought the services of a psychiatrist or a related professional?
Defining the Variables
Here, the independent variable will be the age of the subject at which he or she was a victim of bullying.
Gender will also be an independent variable because the literature review has clearly indicated that gender is an important determinant of how people (teenagers) react and respond to the psychological pressure caused by bullying.
Reaction of victims
The dependent variables that the study will be measuring will be the different ways in which the victims react to the stress caused by bullying. This will help in confirming or stamping out the general belief that gender affects the outcome of bullying.
The extent of effects of bullying
This will be another dependent variable that will be measured by the study. The purpose will determine whether those teenagers who were bullied at a younger age of preteen are more likely to withstand or ward off bullying.