Group Bullying

BULLYING MAY ALSO BE A GROUP PHENOMENON WITH PARTICULAR CHARACTERISTICS. This means that there are a number of children and young people who may at times be involved in bullying, but who would not usually take the initiative themselves. These are called passive bullies, henchmen, or bystanders. The group of passive bullies is quite mixed and may include uncertain or anxious students.

BYSTANDERS

SOME OF THE MECHANISMS THAT MAY BE ACTIVE IN GROUP BULLYING ARE:

Social contagion

Some students may be influenced to take part in bullying if the student leading the bullying is someone they admire. Children or young people who are themselves somewhat insecure and who want to assert themselves are mostly the ones who join in.

Decreased sense of individual responsibility

Social psychology notes that a person's sense of individual responsibility for a negative action such as bullying may be considerably reduced when several people participate. In this way, students who are usually nice, but easily influenced, can at times take part in bullying without particular misgivings.

Weakening of normal controls

If neither the teachers nor the other students try to stop bullying, the bully or bullies are rewarded through their "victory" over their victim. This can contribute to weakening the controls against the aggressive tendencies of neutral students and may contribute to their participation in bullying.

Gradual changes in the perception of the victim of bullying

As a result of repeated attacks and degrading comments, the victim will gradually be perceived as a fairly worthless person who almost "begs to be beaten up." This also results in lesser feelings of guilt in those who are taking part in the bullying and may be part of the explanation of why other students do not try to stop the harassment of the victim.

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