One in four Spanish children suffers bullying

21st September 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2005, MADRID — One out of four Spanish children between the ages of 7 and 18 is bullied at school in Spain, according to new research.

21 September 2005

MADRID — One out of four Spanish children between the ages of 7 and 18 is bullied at school in Spain, according to new research.

It is a phenomenon that is of rising concern to parents and educators.

A study on violence in the schools says that the situation is especially worrying in primary school, where children aged 7-12 experience up to seven times more bullying than older children.

Professors Iñaki Piñuel and Araceli Oñate carried out their study on violence and bullying in the Spanish school system in May and June, examining the cases of 5,000 primary, secondary (ages 12-15) and high school (ages 15-18) students in 222 classrooms at public and private schools in the Madrid region.

This is the first study on the subject from data gathered in the Madrid area, Piñuel said, adding that the results can be extrapolated without much change to the rest of the country.

The study reveals that the form of violence experienced most frequently by school-age children is psychological, in particular verbal threats, being snubbed and exclusion.

According to the data presented in the report, the rate of harassment is 26.8 percent among boys and 21.1 percent among girls, but "the behaviour to which the victims are subjected varies depending on their sex," said Piñuel, who is the director of Cisneros, the firm that conducted the study.

Although boys experience bullying in the form of blows and threats, as well as being the objects of jokes or humiliating nicknames when their peers see them making a mistake.

Girls suffer verbal harassment, are stopped from joining in games, receive threats delivered via written notes and are arbitrarily rejected from groups.

This type of behaviour reflect the fact that "the type of harassment suffered by males is more physical, while that suffered by girls is more focused on verbal (actions) and on reducing their social standing," Piñuel said.

As a result of the harassment suffered, 35 percent of the victims suffer from psychological stress, 36 percent from depression, 36 percent from low self-esteem, 36 percent from anxiety, 37 percent from negative self image, 40 percent from feelings of terror, 15 percent from suicidal thoughts and 14 percent from sleeping problems.

School bullying "could affect any child," said Oñate, who headed the study, adding however that "the percentage of frequently harassed (children) is getting lower and lower".

In addition, she said that when made aware of this type of situation, "parents must give their unconditional support to their kids" rather than respond with statements like "it's not that bad, you're exaggerating a bit, (or) that also happened to me," and so on.

The authors of the study also presented the so-called "Cisneros Self Test," which can be used by parents and teachers to measure incidents of school bullying by means of eight indicators, namely: ridicule, coercion, restriction of communication, aggression, intimidation-threats, exclusion-social blockage, verbal hostility and robbery.

The report concluded: "Violence and school bullying must be measured. It causes problems which will mean those children reach adulthood with a greater vulnerability to other types of violence."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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