Bullying on the rise - study

2012-07-23 08:42

Johannesburg - Bullying of young people between Grade 8 and 12 in Gauteng was on the rise, especially cyber-bullying, according to a study released by Unisa's Youth Research Unit (YRU) on Sunday.

"The YRU research study highlighted that almost three in every 10 learners (34.4%) who participated in the study were victims of bullying," stated the study.

"Whereas four in 10 learners (38.1%) were aware of a friend being bullied, approximately a quarter (23.3%) admitted to having bullied other learners."

The study included a total of 3 371 Gauteng high school pupils and formed part the Schools Community Engagement research project.


It showed high rates of traditional forms of bullying and the emergence of cyber-bullying as a growing phenomenon.

"This was evident from 55.3% of learners who had experienced emotional bullying while almost one in every five (16.9%) had experienced cyber-bullying."

The authors of the study believed the emergence of cyber bullying needed to be noted as having an impact on the lives of young people, families and communities.

If ignored it could reach "crisis levels" which would impact negatively on broader society.

The study found that 67.7% of participants felt bullying had increased over the past two years, with 40.3% feeling cyber-bullying in particular had increased in the same period.

Of the pupils who were cyber-bullied, 53.6% received upsetting messages, 49% had rumours and gossip spread about them, and 48% were called names.

"Other cyber-bullying incidents reported include exposure to sexual remarks (24.5%), unflattering and suggestive personal photos spread online (13.3%) and being bullied, recorded and photos/videos distributed online (8.7%)."

Depression, sadness

The figures also showed evidence of "sexting" as a growing phenomenon emerging among young people, according to the study.

The result of cyber-bulling saw 74.5% of victims avoid chat rooms and 25.5% of victims avoided MXit.
The majority of bullying took place through SMSs and cellphone-accessed social networking.

Traditional bullying took place through name-calling, physical encounters, threats and intimidation, with the majority of bullying taking place off school premises.

Professor Deon Tustin, executive director of the Bureau of Market Research in which the YRU was situated, said the depression and sadness caused by bullying affected young persons' emotional development and functioning.

No action taken

This could contribute to youths being trapped in a vicious cycle of exploitation and not being able to cope psychologically within the learning environment and broader society, he said.

It could also lead to self-destructive behaviour.

The study did find that 51.6% of victims told their parents, peers, teachers or NGOs, while 48.7% said appropriate action was taken to prevent bullying.

"However, a concerning statistic emerging from the research shows that 44% of learners who were bullied reported that no action was taken to reprimand the perpetrator or deal with the bullying incident."

Lack of action perpetuated violence as bullies faced no consequences, potentially increasing risk for victims.

  • jeeves.eddings - 2012-07-23 09:13

    Things to do to Bullies: 1) Place in hospital bed. 2) Connect drip. 3) Put to sleep. 4) Add chemical of choice. 5) Make sure it never wakes up. Ever. That should do it.

      davorin.dobrovic - 2012-07-23 16:35

      You are a balanced and well adjusted human being.

  • Chris_420 - 2012-07-23 09:51

    Imagine if we covered all our kids in cotton wool until they left school... then... BOOM the "big" world comes along and they will not be able to cope. Bullying is a horrible thing, but it does help create that tough exterior needed when the kids leave school.

      maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-07-23 21:54

      Maybe Chris but the bullies of today are cyber bullies and they can be vengeful to another child and destroy that kid with the push of a button. You might have read before parents help destroy the victim.

  • Poloyatonki - 2012-07-23 10:09

    The solution to bullying is to teach your kid to hit back hard.

      delish7564 - 2012-07-23 11:23

      For once I agree with you :). I would much rather my children stand up for thenselves even though it usually means detention, than be victims all their lives. When I was at school I was told to walk away and ignore but in hindsight it destroyed my self-confidence. Fall-outs we're settled by fights in the playground (if bad enough) which is not allowed these days leading to bullying becoming more insidious. Children have to learn how to cope, after all, it does 't stop when they leave school!!!!!

      raymond.billson - 2012-07-23 11:39

      teach them about why this individual is actually being a bully and they will know how to counter it.

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-23 11:45

      delish, i was told to ignore them, that if they dont get a reaction they will stop, it never did stop, i started bunking, spent less than 40 days in school in std 7, started getting wasted, cos it took away the fear, fear of the bullies and fear of the trouble i was gonna be in for bunking most of the year, i passed anyway, but i have grown to hate society, people but on the bright side, bullies last less than 5 minutes around me now days. i would rather get my kid if i had one out of detention, than have them hate everyday of their forced 12yrs in brainwashing

      delish7564 - 2012-07-23 23:53

      @martin. I don't know if you missed my point, perhaps I wasn't very clear but I agree with you that walking away doesn't work, certainly didn't for me and like you, I don't much care for people although it would be unfair to generalize I suppose. However, I would far rather my children stood up for themselves even if it meant getting into trouble and they know that so long as they didn't start the problem, I will back them 100%. Unfortunately the reality is that bullying happens even as adults and children have to acquire the tools to deal with's one thing being bullied at school but when it happens at work and you have responsibilities, it's a whole other ball game but just as destructive. I speak from experience, both at school and work and have also seen the devastating consequences for my children (my son ended up in Intensive Care) and other members of my family. It's not just the person being bullied, it affects the whole family, with the scars taking a very long time to heal, if ever!!!!!!

  • raymond.billson - 2012-07-23 10:37

    Bullying is a symptom of our society today. Our company has facilitators that conduct bullying workshops 3 hours to 1 day at schools and business in Johannesburg and the greater Gauteng. Based on the law of energy and the lecturers are highly qualified martial artists. The psychology of bullying is taught and includes why it takes place. How do you break the cycle of bullying. Ages 6 to 60.If you feel the need to have a workshop at your premises for you or your staff please feel to contact us at CINAO where " I can is now an option" at either 076 5143558 or 011 6163513 or email to book a seminar or workshop. Results are guaranteed.

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-23 11:41

      no its a symptom of society in general, its as old as the hills, bullies are in schools right into sports, into business, there is always some pr1ck who thinks they are "big"

      raymond.billson - 2012-07-24 12:09

      I take it that the people who have a dislike for the article are bullies and do not like a bit of their own medicine. It is because of bullies that the hospitals of full of patients and the world is based on fear.

  • aileen.swanepoel - 2012-07-23 12:44

    If your child is exposed to Cyber bullying, take your child off. Expose your child to people and environments that will have a positive impact on your child. It is your responsibility as the parent to protect your children emotionally as well as physically. Bullying is not a fact of life. Parents need to show their children that they are their support. If your child is being bullied at school, go see the school, if that doesn't help go see the parents of the bully if that still doesn't help, take your child out. Ensure that your child knows that you are on their side. Your child's self esteem and confidence is already broken down by the bully, you need to build it back up. Your child, Your responsibility! You take action where necessary and go the extra mile to ensure that your child wears a smile. It is important for parents to be actively involved in their children's lives so they can pick up any problems arising in their children's behaviour patterns. Parents don't turn a blind eye. Stand up for your child. Morné Swanepoel from has done an extensive study on Bullying and currently has a program "Bully Proof Your Child". For more info on this just simply google Morné Swanepoel. There is more information available on the website as well. He operates from Amanzimtoti but also has instructional dvds available that will help assist those who are not in his area. For more information contact us 0319037616

  • dakey.ras.73 - 2012-07-23 13:32

    Simple, have strict rules against bullying, zero tolerance and all that. Monitor classes at all time (dedicated prefect/class rep ect). In fancier schools, put in surveillance camera's in the classrooms. Bullying in my school was rife, granted no-one got stabbed, but there were plenty of fights.

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-07-23 21:51

    Bullies are drips they are oxygen theives, if my kids were bullied I would name and shame the bully immaterial to the age. You bullies are scum, rubbish, trash, but of course it's the only way you can be the king pin by hurting another person and hide your insecurities.

      raymond.billson - 2012-07-24 12:11

      mapepaki - thanks you have the right attitude in protecting the children from the scourge of humanity that roams our country.

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