Why Children and Adolescents Use Language, Power, and Persuasion to Bully Others Essay
Bullying is defined as a hostile activity which harms and facilitates fear through the fulmination of further aggression which translates and creates trepidation. When it comes to bullying, it may either be premeditated, or it may aggrandize at any given moment. Bullying may be keen and easy to recognize. Sometimes bullying can be done on a one on one basis, or by a nexus of children. Bullying may generally divide the issue into the negative and violent effects of the media, or perhaps it may come from parents whose children at a young age mimic their every mood, language, and behavior.
First, there are three variations of bullying: verbal, corporal and social/interpersonal relations. Expressed communication or verbal bullying consists of name calling, mockery, terrifying phone calls vicious threats, etc. Corporal bullying includes jabbing, whacking, beating, choking, and other threatening gestures. Social or relational bullying includes segregating, arranging public humiliation, and non verbal communication acts such as disturbing stares. These are examples of how children can communicate through violence.
So where and how does this boorish behavior erupt? Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance. Some of the areas of difference may include size, strength, age, intelligence, religion, ethnicity, sexual preference, gender, and race. Children who suffer many years of being bullied as well as children who use violence as a means to communicate through aggression as bullies may encounter a range of problems such as alcoholism and drugs as an anodyne to numb their emotional pain that may amplify into adolescence and adulthood.
One of the main problems surrounding bullying in schools involves how parents communicate to their children at homes. Parents need to be sensitive when it comes to communicating with children as well as the castigation they receive at home. They play a huge role in a child’s life as they mold their values and ethics with their children. Language is a main contributor since words have a profound meaning from adults to children. Young children absorb everything they take in. From the moment children are born to approximately four years of age, parents are supposed to nourish their children with positive parenting communication.
After fours years of age and older, children will develop certain, if not all, characteristics and traits learned by their parents. If parents communicate to their children in a negative and aggressive manner, the child will most likely hit their apex and learn to be aggressive with other children. If parents communicate in a positive manner, the child will learn to communicate in a harmonious and positive fashion. Media, especially television and internet, play a huge role in the development and cognitive stages of a child’s life. The immediate danger is when parenting becomes feeble.
At this point, children will rely on other mediums to make sense of the world they live in. Television in the 21st century is not comparable to the days of Leave it to Beaver or Brady Bunch. Nowadays, children watch South Park where profanity and blood are heard and seen. The Cartoon Network doesn’t even produce good quality television programming like it used to. The network’s cartoons range from good to the bawdy filled with pornographic and mature language that it makes the parent more cautious of what their child is watching. The characters are dressed gaudily as flamboyant prostitutes with no real substance.
There are also more movie channels than ever before which simply mean more ways to watch sex and violence while mommy and daddy are at work or asleep. Internet can also be a dangerous medium as well if a child wonders off to sites that can be explicit in nature and content. It is easy to do so, especially if one uses a search engine like Google. For example, a child may type in the words ‘scolding,’ ‘duct tape,’ or ‘handcuffs,’ and the search engine will transform those requests to sexual fetishes without the intent of the child requesting that kind of information.
A child may have typed ‘duct tape’ to search for the right amount to use in a science experiment at school and instead will see images of how to use it on another human being for sexual cravings and urges. Literature Review Cultivation Theory According to Gerbner, (1986) television has long-term effects which are modest, moderate, indirect, but cumulative and compelling. Cultivation research gazes at the mass media as a socializing agent and inspects whether television viewers merge fantasy with reality. Gerbner and his associates contest that the television world is a rapacious and cruel place.
The focal point of the theory is “heavy viewers,” a description coined by Gerbner. A heavy television viewer is one that consumes more than four hours of television per day. A moderate viewer is one that views television anywhere between two and four hours. Light viewers watch less than two hours of television per day. The author believes that there is a valid connection between cultivation theory and childhood bullying. Television has a profound impact on young viewers who are perceived as heavy viewers without the strong, supportive direction of parents.
The measure of television programming is destructive to children’s lives as they apply what they view on television and try to assimilate it in their daily lives. According to Gerbner, (1978) television has a profound effect on people who fall under the bracket of those who are less educated, lower socioeconomic groups. These groups are the most deprived of information. A wealth of information can bolster a great amount of knowledge. Gerbner and his associates conclude that heavy television viewing can paralyze aspirations, raise anxieties, hinder one’s education, and lower mobility.
Society has to be aware and concerned of what the future holds for our children and television. How can we build strong leaders of tomorrow? How can children learn to be productive citizens of this country and of the world without proper guidance? The author believes that not all television is harmful. There are a few networks that cater to the human mind with knowledge on math, science, politics, and art to name a few. On the negative side, there are networks like Cartoon Network or “Adult Swim” on primetime and late evenings which host several programs containing themes that illustrate sex, violence, and profanity.
How can society function based on these programs? Television depictions of families have alternate, yet compelling consequences on a young child’s awareness, actions, and emotions. They embark on a peculiar case in television families. Why? Children classify with characters that make up the television family, design relationships outside of homes, and develop close ties with them. Children carefully follow the lives of the fictional characters, altercate episodes with friends, and imitate the character’s behavior and fashions. In the eyes of the child, it is more than entertainment.
Television families provide a source in which children can understand the importance of family life, ethics, principles, morals, and constituting relationships so that they can bring about analogies to their own families. In this case, children set high expectations for how families should conduct themselves. There are some researchers who contend that television families discharge as much significance on real families as the environment of the home and family (Callister, Robinson, & Clark, 2007). It is true that children often make comparisons to television families with their own.
Children establish a connection with television families because they build social construct of what the status quo is since they are impressionable human beings. Television sitcoms such as The Cosby Show, Home Improvement, and Family Matters helped build strong families with moral beliefs and convictions that children can model from. These shows produced positive effects on how families should interact with one another and gave valuable lessons on how to overcome adversity through strength in numbers. Children may rely on fictional T. V. haracters for intuition into how families are composed and how they operate as a nucleus. There are adults who are distressed about the depictions of minority families dreading that shows who illustrate minorities in a abrogating way will simply serve to structure and develop negative beliefs and stereotypes about them (Callister, Robinson, & Clark, 2007). Television shows like The George Lopez Show have paved the way in how Hispanics are perceived positively rather than in a stereotypical negative fashion depicting Hispanics with unsavory, questionable behaviors.
George Gerbner (1986) views television as the main storyteller in creating dialogue that people can understand and interpret their realities. According to Gerbner, television has a profound impact in constructing people’s perceptions of social reality. The communication theory would predict that children who consume a great amount of time watching television are more than likely to assemble social paranoia in which children will believe and be influenced by this medium through constant exposure of images and labels (Callister, Robinson, & Clark, 2007).
Between the ages of six and ten years shows a significant predictor of aggressive behavior in the years of a young adult regardless of socioeconomic status, intelligence, and various parenting factors when exposed to violent media (Huesmann, Moise-Titus, Podolski, & Enron, 2003). When children are exposed to violence, they tend to mimic the behavior that is illustrated on television. The misconception children have between television and reality is that it is simply a form of entertainment. To demonstrate what the child saw on TV and use it on another human being would make the study a dangerous one.
Bjorkqvist (1985) displayed either a violent or non-violent video to a group of five and six year old children and arrived at the conclusion that children who had seen the violent film were more likely to engage in physical and other types of aggression. Josephson (1987) showed seven through nine year old boys two types of film that depicted violence and non-violence and found that those who had seen the violent film engaged in more physical aggression during a game of hockey. The effects of violence on television are an ever-growing pandemic because what children perceive on television may appear normal to the eyes of the child.
Constant exposure to media violence is one of the catalysts of childhood and adolescent bullying. The theory approaches the obscure impact that long-term exposure to media content can have on television viewers that have heavy viewing habits (Gerbner, 1986). According to Moran (2007) viewers who watch less violent network television are more likely to perceive less violence on network television. Moran’s study indicates that when exposure to violence on TV is measured as an average or proportion, there is a degree of association with viewers’ perceptions of violence.
Somehow children learn to use what they perceived on television. If a child spends most of their time viewing unhealthy, televised programs that hinder a child’s mind from growing in a positive state that child will simply reinforce what they have seen on television and incorporate it to their daily lives. Bullying has to come from somewhere. The negative behavior that a child demonstrates to another human being is action that is being built up from what the child picked up from watching programs that illustrate violence, gore, and strong sexual content.
A child doesn’t know what to make of these themes; these themes are ‘normal’ to the child. Why? If adults or children their own age are practicing these forms of behavior to one another, the child will perceive this as tolerable and acceptable behavior. Symbolic Interactionism George Herbert Mead was an influential philosophy professor at the University of Chicago who never got his ideas published. After his death, Mead’s colleague, Herbert Blumer, further developed his theory and coined the term, symbolic interactionism. The three core principles of this theory are meaning, language, and thought.
Meaning is developed when social interaction is exchanged between people. The three core principles that fall under this theory are that humans act toward people or things on the basis of the meanings they assign to those people or things. Second, human beings have the ability to name things. Third, an individual’s assimilation of symbols is adjusted by his or hers introspection. According to the theory, humans have a unique ability to attain the role of the other. The “I” aspect of a person’s self is the source of motivation for action. The “Me” aspect of a person’s self is developed through discourse with others.
The looking-glass self is best defined as a mental picture that develops from taking the role of the other. How can researchers apply this theory to childhood and adolescent bullying? The author believes that in the previous theory, cultivation theory, it focused on how heavy viewers will regard the world as more dangerous than light viewers. Why are children and adolescents so intrigued with sex and violence on TV? The author thinks that by viewing the world through the lens of the child may provide a better understanding of how a child or adolescent perceives and interprets the overall content and message of violent TV programming.
Howitt (1976) predicted a dark and gloomy future in regards to the effects of media on children. Thirty years later, he wasn’t wrong. Television programming has deteriorated over the years because of the simple notion that controversy creates cash at the expense of children’s lives. According to Reid and Frazer (1979) the perspective assumes that the cognitive abilities of children develop according to age groups stages which call out fixed responses to such objects as television commercials. Children are considered to be constrained within their individual viewpoint, examining things only from within.
Their conceptions, interpretations, and understandings are viewed as inept of placing themselves in the mindset of others. According to Blummer (1969) people act toward things based on the meaning those things reciprocate to them. After meanings are explained, a person will establish social interaction among other people. Blummer (1969) asserted that meaning is created through a process of interpretation, definition, and interaction. People are selectively responsive to the reactions of those who are included in their social worlds.
They seek to maintain their positions primarily in other’s eyes. The whole purpose of this theory is to focus on the social makeup of the television environment. How does the child interpret those experiences and ultimately shape their realities? Reid and Frazer (1979) conclude that in order to develop a complete understanding of children’s relationship with television and programming, and commercials is to enter their perspectives. This understanding will enhance the value of this theory. Reid and Frazer (1979) asserts that symbolic interactionism provides the foundation for the theory.
Symbolic interactionism is one of the most fascinating theories to study in the field of communication and society in general. The theory covers and influences many areas of communication theory such as role theory, social perception, person to person perception, self perception, language, and culture. When Mortal Kombat hit the arcades in the early nineties, it was the first real fighting game to illustrate blood, guts, and gore. The game was a smash hit. Children and teenagers lined up to play this realistic fighting game to show off some of the cool fighting styles that the game had offered.
The real “treat” was when you destroyed the other opponent and were able to use a fatality to end your opponent’s life. These finishing moves delineated some of the most gruesome, bawdy, and heinous fatalities that came on to the scene. Parents were outraged by the fulsome praise the game received for having gore. It was definitely the most controversial video game of its generation. Why was it so popular? The whole purpose is to exterminate and kill off your minatory opponent the best way possible. In this case, the adult needs to view the world through the lens of the child.
The more opponents you kill, the more points you get and bragging rights to become Mortal Kombat Supreme Champion. Now, beating up wasn’t cool. Midway, creator of Mortal Kombat, was accused of fomenting violence throughout our country and world. Let’s take the video game theory and apply it to bullying. What if the victim was tired of putting up with the behavior of the bully and demonstrated what he or she had seen in the game? This internecine conflict between bully and victim can have its ramifications. The child would be sent to juvenile and then serve time in prison.
As an adult, he or she would receive castigation for the crimes committed. The child now understands that in the real world, there are no points and no one is rewarded by killing the “bully. ” There are consequences behind every bad behavior and action. Mature and understanding adults grasp that concept, but children do not. Children understand the video game as being cool. It’s cool to kill off your opponents because you get to move quickly to the next round. In other words, have no remorse for what you did to your opponent; instead worry about the next foe.
Reality doesn’t work that way. Children need to understand that for every action there is a reaction. Instead of scolding children that video games are evil, the author strongly believes adults need to bolster their children, take the role of the child in order to view what he or she is watching, and how they interpret those symbols. Only then will we make a supportive judgment and conclusion that violent video games or violent television programming has a negative effect on our sense of judgment and may clout or convolute our decision making.
The obstinately, disobedient child will then learn to respect the parent’s assumptions on video games and TV programming because adults understood it from the eyes of the child instead of making quick assumptions that all video games are atrocious. Social Learning Theory Social Learning Theory is a mainstream school of psychological and communicative thought which explains how violent behavior in people or VCA (Verbal Communication Aggression) is transmitted through learning.
Social Learning researchers clarify that children incorporate violence with others by imitating violent role models as this becomes a negative way to express verbal communication aggression with other children. Parents who rely on physical punishment or lexical abuse as a way to discipline their children are acting as non-supportive role models for uncivilized behavior (Bandura, 1973; Baron, 1977). Bandura (1973) refers to a study that discovered how children exhibited much more apery of violent habits or VCA illustrated on video.
As children grow up and enter adulthood, they will simply affirm that being physically or verbally abused is a way of life. They will go on to believe that violence through human communication is the answer to everything. They will be bullies, victims, or perhaps both. McClure et al. (2005) contributes further evidence regarding the importance of teaching people, especially parents, to educate themselves on the importance of controlling verbal aggression as it may lead to the child in thinking that violent verbal communication aggression is the end all way of communicating with others in order to incorporate authority and power.
The authors also suggest that lower levels of verbal communication aggression might improve supervisor-subordinate, teacher-student, and husband-wife relationships, and diminish the chances of physical aggression in both adult and adolescent populations. There are ways to replace verbal communication aggression such as smiling, a pat on the back, and hugging. According to Wilson et. al (2008) mother’s level of trait verbal aggression or VA was positively associated with directing behavior such as commands and suggestions.
Children who experienced low-trait VA displayed no resistance to their mother’s directiveness. Children in the high trait verbal aggression occasionally resisted their mother’s directives. The authors suggest that programs working with parents high in trait verbal aggression should focus on the control dimension of parents. According to Bandura (1973), there are several studies in which he conducted that distinctly characterized the way children would act like adults who achieved violent actions by bashing toy dummies.
Sheline (1994) discovered that boys in elementary school that illustrated acts of bullying were habitually identifiable to a decreased amount of parental devotion and to parental use of violent communication aggression such as spanking for discipline. Spatz-Widom (1989) handled an embracive analysis of research dispatching whether violence is passed on from generation to generation. She discovered abundant support for the assumption that violence is caused by violence.
Vissing (1991) acknowledged in his study that children who had cultivated higher levels of expressed communication aggression at home displayed immense rates of crime and human interpersonal aggression. Gershoff (2002) engaged in the enormous assignment of assembling studies that were completed over sixty years to examine the aftermath of corporal punishment. She isolated studies observing at habitual punching, and eliminated any that examined at corporeally or abusive punishment.
The affirmation she arrived at was steady across all analyses where even established non verbal communication acts such as hitting causes children to become more aggressive. Discussion The victims of Carl Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera serve as a reminder that bullying is alive and needs to be addressed and taken seriously. It is no longer a phase. Instead, lives are being cut short in order to end the tumultuous terror and torture that victims succumb at the hands of vicious and cruel kids.
Parents, teachers, and school administrators need to join forces, so that children can lead healthy and productive lives. Teachers are instrumental in that they educate, motivate, and inspire young minds to become productive citizens. How can they teach freely if there is always that one student who lives with fear and terror? The only worries a child needs to be concerned with are math and science tests. Children are the future and possess the key to unlocking amazing discoveries that will push this society into a new and productive era.
We will never know how the victims, Carl Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera would have contributed to our society as adults. Parents need to love their children and care about what goes on in their lives. Children get excited when parents get involved. Parents need to learn how to communicate to children because their minds are like sponges. Adults set the example for how their children behave and act. It is important for adults to understand that they are the role models children need to become aspiring citizens of this great nation and world.
Communication is the essence that binds all humans together. How we bind as a productive society depends on adults. The author believes that parents need to encourage children to succeed, lead, teach, inspire, love and care for one another. Parents need to monitor what children watch on television and the internet as children nowadays are so intrigued with what the internet has to offer. The internet can be a useful tool in doing research for school and other educational needs. Parents need to be aware how their children view the other world from their lens.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what it was like being a child. Television has become a serious threat to our children today. Parents find it difficult to monitor children’s television viewing with over a thousand channels to choose from. Violence on television networks has grown with the addition of so many channels that illustrate sex and violence at all hours. Adults need to communicate to their children that violence is not the final answer to resolve any problems. Television doesn’t have to equate viewing our world as a mean and scary place.
If anything, we can learn amazing discoveries through science and medicine on networks such as Animal Planet and Discovery Channel. How about politics and history? Children can learn history and politics from channels such as C-SPAN, History Channel, Military Channel, and PBS. Children can keep up with current events and make good observations from channels such as CNN, MSNBC, and FOX. Television can be a powerful medium for children as they learn to adapt new perceptions and discoveries. Adults need to remember that at an early age, children model and mimic whatever they perceive on television.
Television sets the stage for how children behave, speak, and act towards other human beings. The author believes that if parents can return to traditional morals and values such as having sit down dinners and enjoying television programs that illustrate a positive environment for all to enjoy, only then can society function as human beings, instead of wild animals. Corporal punishment needs to be abolished at all costs inside every home. It only leads the child to think that this negative behavior is the answer to every conflict.
Bullies across the country and world imitate what they see at homes. If the mother or father shouts at the child using profanity, the child will be frightened and use that anger to release it at schools. The problem isn’t with our education system, left versus right, liberals versus conservatives, or republicans versus democrats. The problem and solution begins at every home across the United States and throughout the world. As mentioned earlier, positive communication is a vital component in a child’s life.
Words have a profound impact on a child’s life. For some, it can affect a child to the point that they believe the negative connotation behind those words means they are worthless and incapable of being valuable assets. The author thinks that parents need to raise a child’s self-esteem, encourage them to overcome adversity by fighting the good fight of faith, and loving and respecting one another are key ingredients in raising a healthy child. Ethics is important in today’s society as this world has lost its path to good principles, morals, and values.