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Psychology Mobbing among children and adolescents

Social Influence: Crash Course Psychology #38 (April 2019).


In times when school bullying is on the increase, we need to ask ourselves how we can help the affected children and adolescents. If you have children or even teach at a school, we advise you to be watchful. How to identify bullying among children and adolescents and what to do about it, read here.

According to the new PISA study, bullying is on the rise in school. When a child is bullied at school, parents and teachers alike have a duty to assist and help. But how do you recognize bullying? Why is it so dangerous for those affected? And what can you do to help victims of bullying?

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What is bullying?

The term bullying involves various forms of physical and psychological violence, which is exercised over a long period of time, and which can happen openly or subtly. Literally, bullying means "teasing" from the English word for "mob". But this term belies the fact that bullying is often very subtle. Exclusion and collective blasphemy behind the back of the person concerned are just two examples. It becomes dangerous when a child is teased, physically harassed or otherwise treated in a general manner for a prolonged period of time. So if the perpetrators have shot at the victim, then one speaks of bullying. Important here: Bullying attacks are not only possible face to face - in the social networks, especially Facebook, bullying takes place. In so-called cyber-bullying, for example, children join together in a group or publicly post intimate details of the victim. Also with messenger services like WhatsApp cyber bullying takes place in groups.

Who is affected by bullying?

Bullying can basically hit anyone. Children are often easy-going and direct when making fun of others in school. Classmates with conspicuous externals or behaviors quickly become victims. Therefore, if the entire class excludes a single student and there are regular psychological or physical harassment situations, the victim is gradually forced into a corner from which escaping becomes increasingly difficult.

What are the consequences of bullying?

Bullying can have dire consequences for the children and adolescents concerned. That the school performance falls off is still the most harmless case. Bullying victims can be damaged in their self-esteem, withdraw from friends and family, in the worst case, completely lose confidence in others or even get depression.

What can be done against bullying?

When students are affected by bullying, parents are just as much obliged as the social environment in the school, so teachers and other students who hear about the bullying. To fundamentally address the problem, it can be helpful to invite a coach to the school and hold a public information event. For example, educator Carsten Stahl gives seminars for children and adolescents in schools around the topics of bullying, self-esteem and defense. Anyone who wants to deal intensively with the topic of bullying, which is also his new book "You perpetrator, you victim" recommended. Inform yourself to recognize bullying in your child or your students as early as possible!

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