This essay examines the issue of bullying in schools from a sociological perspective. It begins by examining the definition of bullying and proceeds to briefly discuss the extent of the problem, its consequences and the use of intervention plans. Furthermore, by comparing and contrasting press and internet coverage of this issue, it explores how the media in Australia report bullying in school. The essay ends with an explanation of the similarities and differences between those media outlets. In addition, it examines the role of media in influencing public opinion in regards to this social issue.
Bullying is a term that has been difficult to define because it is open to different interpretations. Another issue defining this behaviour is, establishing at what point a certain behaviour becomes bullying (Kowalski, 2003). However, it is generally agreed that bullying is the “systematic abuse of power in interpersonal relations,” (Rigby & Coosje, 2009). According to Kids Help Line, bullying is defined as, “Deliberate psychological and/or physical harassment of one person by another, or a group, occurring at school or in transit between school and home. Includes exclusion from peer group, intimidation, extortion and violence” (Kids Help Line, 2010).
Bullying has various negative consequences. There is mounting evidence that bullying has both physical and psychological consequences on the health of the victims. They experience depression and low esteem, and are more likely to act aggressively towards the wider society while they are at school, and after leaving school (Rigby, 2003). The worst aspect of bullying is that it can lead to suicide (Byrne, 1994). All of this affects the general school climate. Students who are victimized often consider school to be unsafe which can lead to student absentees (Banks, 1997).
Research indicate that about half of school attending children have experienced some degree of bullying, and reports estimate that in Australia, one...