Cyber Bullying and Bullying in Schools

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In a study done to determine the frequency of bullying in two groups of middle school-going children, one group was made up of children with learning disabilities and the other without limitations. In this research, different socio-ecological predictors were used to assess the students. The authors found out that gender, race, grade results and level of participation in other activities influenced the amount of bullying (Rose et al., 2013). On the other hand, the study found out that the level of bullying decreased among those with high peer social support. Such students also faced lower levels of victimization and anger from those without disabilities.
This research conclusively shows how increased peer support is a protector towards bullying among those with disabilities. When students with intellectual weaknesses have their peers, they get necessary support to hold onto. They also get physical and emotional protection from others who desire to victimize them. These students also relate well with an extended friendship courtesy of their peers. In the end, they get to be understood and cared for. The study by Rose et al. (2013) therefore highlights the significance of social-ecological predictors towards bullying.
Kokkinos and Antoniadou (2013) also evaluate the incidence of self-reporting of bullying and victimization by students in elementary schools. This study looked at the instances of bullying among those with specific learning weaknesses. The 346 participants had to meet criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), and so only 50 participated in the survey. The participants filled a self-administered questionnaire that measured the level of bullying and victimization. Interestingly, students with SLD acted more as bully and victimization victims than those without the condition. The results showed no significant difference between adolescents with SLD and those without in terms of using aggressive behaviors.
The study by Kokkinos and Antoniadou (2013) does not mirror other studies, which show that students with SLD suffer more bullying and victimization than their counterparts. It, therefore, means that a lot is being done to identify the specific predictors of bullying. Rose et al. (2013) suggest that students with learning disabilities are prone to bullying. The reasons are similar in each context. Perhaps, other studies need to identify why there is no difference in aggressive behaviors between SLD students and non-SLD ones. It is essential to determine such a difference.
Bullying and victimization go beyond the classroom borders into other aspects of life. In unique education settings, cyberbullying appears to be rampant among students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Another study explores the types, prevalence and associated factors of cyberbullying in students described above (Didden et al., 2009).
This study was conducted in a special education setting. The group of 114 students filled a questionnaire regarding bullying and victimization across the internet. Other questions focused on socio-demographic factors. The study additionally assessed the level of depression and self-esteem among these students. Results showed that 4-9 percent of the students suffered bullying and victimization every week students with disabilities had a high incidence of depression and low self-esteem due to their low IQ. Additionally, there is no significant link between bullying and age and gender.
It is now evident that cyberbullying is high among those with intellectual disabilities and developmental problems. The special educational setting poses a significant challenge to use internet and cyber among the disadvantaged. As such, there should be programs to deal with, enabling collaboration between parents, teachers, and children as suggested by Didden et al. (2009). The study explores developmental disability as a risk factor for bullying hence forming the next subtheme.
It seems researchers are very interested in discovering how children with disabilities experience a difficult time when using the internet. In another research, children with Asperger syndrome go through a survey to determine if they are bullied in the same way as their peers (Iglesias, Gómez Sánchez, and Alcedo Rodríguez, 2019).
Primary studies around cyberbullying revolve around adolescents and thus forms a basic unit of investigation. The main questionnaire was the Cyber-aggression Questionnaire for Adolescents, a tool important in this age group. Among the 181 adolescents, the frequency of using newer technology is the same. However, the special adolescents seem to be using technology more frequently in recent times. This pattern is attributed to a high level of awareness and empowerment among those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
According to the study, the use of social media is limited even though the age group desires to use social media more (Iglesias, Gómez Sánchez, and Alcedo Rodríguez, 2019). However, this study points out that there is no significant difference between cyberbullying and intellectual disability.
Notably, the study by Iglesias, Gómez Sánchez, and Alcedo Rodríguez (2019) contradicts that by Didden et al., (2009). The former does not identify any difference between bullying among children with a disability, but the later defines a connection. Iglesias, Gómez Sánchez, and Alcedo Rodríguez (2019) thus conclude that there needs to be more meta-analyses to determine the truth in this information.
It now looks like people with intellectual disabilities suffer a great deal of bullying and victimization. Another study looks at the prevalence of such among school-aged youth (Maïano et al., 2016). They are developing youth who experience bullying forms part of public health concerns. The injuries they suffer and psychological effects all amount to denial of health as described by WHO. This systematic review found out a varying mean prevalence between bullying and victimization based on several variables. Youths with intellectual disability still suffered a high incidence of cyber victimization. This survey did not find any difference between youths with intellectual disabilities and other types of disability (Maïano et al., 2016).
Griffin et al. (2019) look at the perception and experiences of bullying among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This study also falls into the theme of bullying among people with developmental disabilities. As such, I will fully exploit the topic at this point. Little research still exists on own perception of bullying and victimization among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The authors conducted an interview with 18 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The respondents identified whether bullying was hurtful, why people bully, the forms of bullying and places it happens. Results showed a discrepancy in the incidence of bullying from the traditional definition. The study then discusses implications of future research in practice (Griffin et al., 2019).
People with intellectual disabilities may face a difficult time in answering questionnaires. It may be thus difficult to determine the true meaning of variables. Besides, it is difficult to understand how they reason owing that some of them may have low IQ. The study is good but needs to be conducted in a suitable environment. The low level of data may be due to difficulty in doing such a survey among these people. However, conclusive results are possible if researchers determine a suitable sample and subjects.
Developmental disabilities
People with developmental disabilities are also prone to bullying. Often, adolescents fall victim to this category. A twin study in Sweden looks at neurodevelopmental problems in children and bullying among adolescents (Törn et al., 2015). Neurodevelopmental disorders in this question are autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorders among others. The authors utilized genetically modified information to link developmental disorders and the incidence of bullying. Neurodevelopmental problems occurred from 9 to 12 years of age. At the age of 15, participants reported bullying and victimization.
In a different study comparing bullying between children with borderline intellectual functioning and those with intellectual disabilities (Kavanagh et al., 2018), it was found that bullying was more in children with intellectual disabilities as compared to the other group. The indicators used for bullying were physical and social bullying victimization, where social bullying victimization was more. However, amongst the bullied population, children coming from families that had low parental education were more affected by the social bullying victimization. A similar study found that the rate of bullying in adolescents with intellectual disability was between 52%and 62% according to respective mother and adolescents’ response.
Comparing the prevalence of bullying between typical cognitive development and mentally disabled adolescents, the intellectual disabled were found to be more bullied (p=0.03) (Christensen et al., 2012). The higher prevalence was in conjunction with the mothers’ report, but the significance was not as high as the adolescents’ report. The reports also showed that bullying differed with age, adolescents were more bullied as compared to grown youths It was also noted that neurodevelopment problems predisposed the participants in bullying later in life. Interestingly, genetics did not play a significant role. However, social and environmental interactions formed bulk of predictors for bullying.
The association described in this study has a cause-effect relationship. It is imperative to know these vulnerabilities as they help in making risk assessment tools. Using such data, responsible authorities can develop prevention strategies for such children. The study is significant in relating what happens in families with children who are developmentally disabled. These factors should be made known to the parents and determine the susceptibility of their children to such things. It is only through an approximate prediction that preventive strategies are developed. As such, neurodevelopmental problems in children and adolescents increase the risk of being bullied (Törn et al., 2015).
More studies around autism and spectrum disorders show that such individuals face a higher incidence of bullying. The correlated study involvement in bullying among adolescents with ASD in the United States. The researchers determined social-ecological correlates of bullying involvement among these adolescents (Sterzing et al., 2012). Results show a 46% incidence of bullying involvement among these adolescents. This number is significantly high. Perpetration and victimization perpetration stood at 14.8% and 8.9%, respectively. Low social skills, ADHD, Hispanic origin and conversational ability were mostly identified as causes of victimization. Weekly social interaction with friends, white background and ADHD were factors associated with perpetration, and On the other hand, victimization/perpetration relied on being white, having ADHD, and weekly social interaction (Sterzing et al., 2012).
The study concluded that there should be a school-based intervention to look at the primary target deficits in ASD. Comorbid conditions also need to be considered when managing problems with people with ASD. The study is similar to that by Törn et al. (2015) in the way they look at ASD and other developmental disabilities. These people are unique and deserve better treatment like others.
Tipton-Fisler et al. (2018) go-ahead to look at the stability of bullying and problems among adolescents with ASD, intellectual disabilities and typical development. Recent studies show that children with ASD and ID are at increased risk of bullying and victimization. Not much is known about how victimization impacts on their lives over a long period. As such, this study resolved to look at long term impact of bullying among these special populations. Parents played a significant role in the success of the study. They are the ones who could observe the effects of bullying in their children over a period.
The study determined that highest instance of bullying was endorsed by adolescents with ASD. On the other hand, youths with ID reported cases of bullying that those with ASD. It is also evident that internalization at an early age-predicted predicted victimization by the age of 15. We now see how youths with ASD continue to be victimized. There is shift in focus from the quitter social deficits of ASD. Comorbid conditions also control the rate of victimization among those with ASD (Tipton-Fisler et al., 2018). The study, therefore, demonstrated a unique difference between people with ASD and ID. As such, it is essential to continue to analyse this difference through subsequent research.
Effects of bullying
Among the adolescents that were bullied, it was found that they had some social behaviours that developed from their experiences.
Through psychological assessment, it was found that found that bullying contributed to 65% of reported adolescent cases of depression and anxiety. They did not feel comfortable talking about it due to the fear of being seen as weak or facing more bullying experiences if the victimizers are punished. These children were also found to have poor sleeping patterns (Tipton-Fisler et al., 2018). They neither had countless thoughts and experienced insomnia or slept too much to escape from the reality. In return it affected their productivity throughout the day both academically and in other activities. The victims also felt lonely and sad as they could not freely interact with their peers due to feeling mentally incapacitated and socially alienated.
They also lost interest in their hobbies and other activities due to stress and fear of not matching up to the expectations of their peers. The develop a fear of being bullied and refrain from everything that hey were initially interested in. The already intellectually disabled students who had efforts in their academics would tend to drop drastically in their performances (Tipton-Fisler et al., 2018). This is because they put in less effort, or generally think that they cannot perform like the other students.
Effects of bullying can affect the growing children even in their adult ages. It is therefore recommended that they should be counselled if found to have such experiences. Teachers, parents and any other leaders in the social groups should put measures against bullying and reported or found bullies punished. This would help the victims to talk more and be more engaged in their activities hence develop well like their counterparts.
The literature provided shows various studies conducted to show how bullying is among people with an intellectual and developmental disability. These advanced researches agree that people with ID are prone to bullying and victimization. In addition, those with developmental disabilities face the same fate. Bullying is mainly experienced in schools and other social places. However, the same happens in cyber and through phones. Such people, therefore, face cyberbullying and educational victimization. Fate always befalls youths and adolescents. The impact is more significant in adolescents as they can understand what goes on around them. Again, when such occurs at a younger age, it predicts the future. We see how bullying at an early age goes on to adulthood. The effects also last throughout the lives of these people.
The studies do not complement each other fully. As some suggest that those with developmental disabilities suffer the most, others conclude that individuals with intellectual disabilities feel the wrath. Perhaps the findings depend on a variety of factors. Further research is necessary to clear the uncertainty among this population. This literature review is not exhaustive, and only involves a small circle of population. There is need to evaluate such people in countries where data is inadequate. Low and middle-income countries still grapple with bullying among these populations. They do not come out to report due to stigma of being labeled mad. As such, it proves difficult to obtain data.
Future nursing and research are essential in fathoming the topic more. Nurse practitioners have a role in controlling bullying among people with disabilities and intellectual deficits. Nurses understand these disorders better than the general population. Hence, a good leadership skill should make them able to develop useful strategies for combatting bullying. Better nursing practices should focus on educating the general community on the importance of embracing people with disabilities. By doing so, people learn to live harmoniously with those with ASD, ADHD, ID and developmental delay.
Contemporary research has focused more on determining the prevalence and incidence of bullying in people with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities. A few have been done to determine the perception and attitude of others towards this particular population. Few studies also talk about how people with disabilities view others. They are also not fully explored to find out their opinion on bullying. Little has also been done to find out the long term effects on bullying. There is no study among the literature reviewed that talks about physical and psychological effects of bullying. As such, future studies should aim to address these deficits.

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