More Australian children are reporting that they are being bullied by other children according to research done by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. The findings from this research study were published in June 2013 and indicate that nearly three-fifths of children in the age group of 10-11 years were reporting that they had been bullied by other children or were somehow targeted by their peers with unfriendly behaviour.

The rates according to the study were tracking the reports of bullying within the last 12 months by the children and also indicated that both boys and girls were experiencing the unfriendly behaviours at relatively equal rates. There were differences however in the type of victimization that occurred in boys versus girls. The girls were reporting less physical violence and more subtle victimization which included being ignored as well as having a peer talk about them negatively in secret. Whereas the boys were more likely to report that they were being physically or verbally assaulted.

The instances remained the same when looking at overall incidences however when comparing socio-economic status, weight or disability issues, those that weighed more, were in a lower economic class or mentally or physically disabled youths were more likely to have reported that they had been bullied in some way.

The effects of the victimization as reported by the children indicated that the more that the child was bullied the more likely the child was to miss long periods of school. Children that were bullied were also more likely to have made a change in the school that they attended within the past two years. However, when comparing the school itself with the level of victimization there appeared to be no difference in whether the child attended a large school or a smaller school.

The study also indicated that the parents were not necessarily aware that the child had been bullied. This finding comes from interviewing parents and comparing their answers as to whether they thought their child had been bullied with the actual answers of the children. In some cases, the answers did not match up with the child reporting that they had been bullied while the parent reported that they did not believe that the child has ever been bullied. In addition, in some cases the child’s answers as to whether the treatment that they had received constituted bullying or not differed from the parent’s knowledge about the bullying with the parent reporting that they did not consider those particular behaviours to be bullying.

Aside from issues with children missing important school time and lack of support from the parents in response to the unfriendly behaviour incidents that their children had experienced, it was noted that the children experienced significant emotional problems and behavioural problems in light of the poor treatment that they had received from peers. This poor treatment involved problems such is trouble with focusing, poor self worth, discipline problems and also emotional problems.

Link: http://www.growingupinaustralia.gov.au/pubs/asr/2012/asr2012g.html

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