Bullying and Prevention

In the age of cyber societies, a new type of conflict is emerging.

Modern societies, hyperconnected by new technologies, are changing the way people interact in their everyday lives. These forms of social connections evoke new conflicts and phenomena such as bullying or mobbing.

To get a better understanding of these conflicts, the historical development of the terms mobbing and bullying originated in the seventies. The term mobbing is first mentioned in Heinemann’s studies. The term “bullying” is understood as conflicting communication in the workplace between colleagues or between superiors and subordinates.

An extension of the term is used by the Swedish psychologist Dan Olweus, supplementing it for the first time with the group behavioral component of children, that students are subjected to violence when they are exposed several times over a long period by the adverse actions of one or more students.

Today, bullying is no longer just the physical violence of students against students, but also verbal or non-verbal activity, such as name-calling, insults or exclusion from the group. The bully intends to inflict damage on its victim, which may be material, physical or psychological. Also, the bully wants to gain prestige and recognition from other students and demonstrate their power over others. Due to the imbalance of power, the bullying victim is unable to avoid the situation.

In the current age of digitization and the increasing use of modern media, another form of bullying is emerging: cyberbullying, which uses new media to insult victims. Cyberbullying torments victims in a particular way, as they are accessible to all authors; at the same time, they can remain anonymous. Thus, the home environment offers victims no protection against attacks.

 

How do we instill these concepts in the students of the Swiss-Brazilian School of Curitiba and what steps are we taking to avoid bullying in our school culture?

For this educative process, it is relevant to establish conflict management and joint action. The Swiss-Brazilian School of Curitiba establishes prevention at different levels:

First, at the room level, setting clear rules, carrying out joint activities and implementing Klassenrat. These measures strengthen the community of the class, create trust and reinforce the sense of unity.

At the school level, executing a specific response in case of rule violation and discussing rules of behavior. The issue was clarified and expounded on during two different lectures for teachers. A concept for prevention now exists.

At the parent level, a group of engaged and selected parents created the “Culture for Peace” project at the Swiss-Brazilian College. They designed the mediation project and established a concept.

During this school year, the “Culture for Peace” project group successfully organized a workshop on cyberbullying in all classrooms and created an affliction box for students in the school entrance area.

In addition, the project group would like to train a group of students to become peacemakers and conflict mediators. These students should avoid abuse in the yard or class in advance. Mediators learn dialogue skills and social skills for constructive conflict resolution.

The mediation project and all preventive measures have a proven positive effect throughout the school climate and in our school culture.

Sources:
Olweus Dan: Gewalt in der Schule – Was Lehrer und Eltern wissen sollten – und tun können, Huber Hans, 2006.
Alsaker, F. (2004): Quälgeister und ihre Opfer. Mobbing unter Kindern und wie man damit umgeht. Bern, Göttingen, Toronto, Seattle
Halbright Ron: Praktische Gewaltprävention mit jungen Menschen – Gewalt – Eskalation und Konflikte schlichten, NCBI, 2001