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PSYCHOLOGICAL PREVENTION OF BULLYING AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN

Bullying in its various manifestations is a widely recognized problem in society. This problem is especially noticeable in the school environment. An educational organization has a special status to address the problem of bullying in the school environment. It is important that this work should include a system of measures to prevent this phenomenon.
Keywords: bullying, school environment, harassment, school violence, aggressive behavior, prevention.

Yallina V. L.
Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, Associate Professor,
H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, Kharkiv, Ukraine

10.34142//2708-4809.SIUTY.2022.186

The urgent task of a modern school is to create and maintain a safe educational environment. It is the provision of a comfortable psychological atmosphere in the school community that contributes to the successful development of the individual. Relationships between participants in the educational process can be both a source of support and have negative consequences for psychological and physical health in cases of threats, torture, verbal abuse, insults, and physical attacks. In this regard, more and more attention is being paid to the problem of situations where there is a stable division of roles between the persecutor and the victim. Of particular importance are situations that are regularly repeated with the same participants.

The purpose of the article is to analyze the system of measures taken by an educational organization to prevent bullying in the school environment.

A safe and child-friendly school involves taking into account the interests of students, protecting them from risky behavior, giving them experience in peaceful conflict resolution and compromise, and developing compassion [1].

Bullying is a long process of deliberate cruelty, aggressive behavior to cause harm, fear, anxiety, or create a negative environment for a person. A special feature of bullying is the long-term “rejection” of a child by his or her social environment [2; 4].

The most common forms of bullying are: physical (pushing, hitting), verbal (threats, insults, humiliation, sarcastic remarks, humiliation), psychological (psychological pressure, ignoring, isolation), economic (damage to property, taking money), cyberbullying (sending messages, images of an aggressive and offensive nature, aggressive behavior in chats, social networks).

Foreign researchers emphasize that bullying is a destructive interaction (R. J. Hazler), is long-term, disrupts the physical and mental health of students, increases the risk of anxiety and depressive disorders, suicidal behavior (Holt et al, 2015), manifests itself in psychological and intellectual aspects (D. Olweus, Gini & Pozzoli, 2009 and Volk et al., 2012), Reijntjes et al. (2013), is associated with the achievement of social dominance (QMI Agency, 2013, Winsper et al. 2012), family upbringing style, parenting behavior (Anthony A. Volk, Ann H. Farrell, Prarthana Franklin, Kimberly P. Mularczyk, and Daniel A. Provenzano), social and emotional atmosphere at school (Kasen et al., 2004; Loukas & Robinson, 2004).

In the structure of bullying, there are persecutors, helpers, reinforcers, victims, and observers. Bullying is initiated by students who may constantly break the rules, use violence to assert their authority, gain benefits, or have fun. The actions of bullies have a negative impact not only on the victim, but also on observers and the atmosphere in the school as a whole [6].

Regulatory support for combating bullying is based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Constitution of Ukraine, the Laws of Ukraine “On Education”, “On Child Protection”, “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Combating Bullying”, letters from the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine, etc. In its letters of 29.01.2019 No. 1/11-881 and of 14.08.2020 No. 1/9-436 [5; 6], the Ministry of Education and Science provides a procedure for teachers to act in cases of bullying and introduced monitoring of the current state of the educational environment in order to obtain information about the level of safety, comfort and attractiveness of the educational institution from the point of view of participants in the educational process.

It is important that teachers and parents are in partnership, that work is carried out continuously throughout the educational process, that it is aimed at establishing relationships between teachers and children and between children, and that an integrated approach is ensured.

It should be noted that educational institutions are taking measures to prevent bullying in the student environment in order to strengthen prevention work. The diagnostic block includes observation, questionnaires, surveys, sociometric studies, collection of information on the situation of violence in the educational institution, emotional background, as well as psychological and pedagogical diagnosis of students’ risk factors.

Together with the children, clear, specifically formulated, uniform anti-bullying safety rules are established, and a code of ethics for the children’s team is developed. The main thing is to create an atmosphere of intolerance to any manifestation of violence at school. Appropriate corners for children are organized, containing information about helplines, free primary care centers, telephone helplines for children, psychological assistance services, psychological support platforms, instructions, brochures, booklets of the helpline, information about the anonymous online diary “Just Don’t Tell Anyone”, etc.

Age-appropriate conversations, analysis of educational situations, organization of discussions, discussion of violence, trainings, games, watching social videos, animated films are held with children to help them develop moral values, tolerance, empathy, emotional intelligence, and reduce stress. It is important to discuss issues of concern to children during classroom hours and to develop legal literacy. For this purpose, the format of a movie club may be interesting, as it creates a safe environment for children. It is important to involve children in various anti-bullying campaigns, challenges, and volunteer projects.

Psycho-correctional work includes games and exercises to create a favorable psychological atmosphere, training in psychological techniques, team building, development of communication skills, conflict resolution skills, and stress reduction. The training programs for children are adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and martial law and are aimed at preventing behavioral deviations, forming moral behavior and moral qualities of the individual.

It should be noted that comprehensive prevention and selection of remedial classes, as well as consultations are conducted both with the entire class and individually with each child. Particular attention is paid to working with children at risk of bullying. It is important to create and ensure conditions for the normative development of children and their successful socialization. Work with children at risk of bullying involves building realistic self-esteem, optimism, confidence in adult support and understanding, the ability to be critical of inappropriate peer attacks and ridicule, teaching them how to act in a critical situation, developing emotional stability, and reducing anxiety.

Much attention is paid to educational work among parents and teachers, holding talks, trainings, speeches at parent-teacher conferences, organizing events, psychology electives, and roundtables. It is important to constantly inform parents about the possibilities of receiving psychological help from specialists in psychological centers, as well as to invite specialists (law enforcement officers, municipal psychoneurological dispensaries, doctors from antenatal clinics, etc.) to meetings with parents and teachers. Mass educational campaigns should be aimed at actively discussing this problem with the public, while preventing the silencing of cases of harassment and fostering intolerance to bullying. In connection with the spread of cyberbullying in distance learning, educational activities on children’s information security are becoming increasingly important. Psychological prevention of bullying also includes individual, family, and group counseling, as well as online training to teach strategies for dealing with bullying.

A school mediation service is being introduced into the educational process to help children acquire skills in peaceful conflict resolution and create a culture of relationships in the classroom.

Methodological support for the prevention of bullying (harassment) is presented on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science [3]. It contains methodological guides that contain materials on countering bullying in educational institutions, creating a system of mutual understanding services for the implementation of mediation, creating an atmosphere of attention, compassion and cooperation in the classroom, etc.; a set of educational programs for peaceful conflict resolution; correctional and developmental programs for building stress resistance; training programs for addressing violence at school; links to the websites of organizations involved in bullying prevention (UNICEF, All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “Ukrainian

Thus, the analysis shows that bullying is a complex multifactorial phenomenon that has somatic, psychological, and social consequences. To prevent this phenomenon, it is necessary to use a comprehensive approach, involving all participants in the educational process in systematic work. The main measures should focus on organizing a safe educational environment, shaping students’ attitudes to any manifestations of violence as a negative phenomenon, developing attitudes of tolerance, empathy, cooperation skills, and a culture of overcoming conflict situations.

List of references

1. Safe and child-friendly school in the context of the NUS reform / V. Ponomarenko et al. Kyiv : Alaton, 2020. 64 с.
2. On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Combating Bullying (Harassment): Law of Ukraine of 18.12.2018 № 2657-VIII. Bulletin of the Verkhovna Rada. 2019. № 5. Art. 33.
3. Useful links on the topic of anti-bullying. URL: https://mon.gov.ua/ua/osvita/zagalnaserednya-osvita/protidiya-bulingu/korisni-posilannya-shodo-temi-antibulingu (accessed on 10.11.2022).
4. Methodological recommendations for preventing and combating violence: letter of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine of 18.05.2018. № 1/11-5480. URL: https://drive.google.com/file/ d/1GU-yUiXyeQr3z6X0MWd7mf2AFVaeGFF5/view (accessed on November 10, 2022).
5. On creating a safe educational environment in an educational institution and preventing and counteracting bullying (harassment): Letter of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine of 08/14/2020 No. 1/9-436. URL: https://imzo.gov.ua/2020/08/17/lyst-mon-vid-14-08-2020-1-9-436-pro-stvorennia-bezpechnoho-osvitn-oho-seredovyshcha-v-zakladi-osvity-tapoperedzhennia-i-protydii-bulinhu-ts-kuvanniu/ (accessed on 10.11.2022).
6. Recommendations for Educational Institutions on the Application of the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Countering Bullying (Harassment)” of 18.12.2018 No. 2657-VIII: Letter of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine of 29.01.2019 No. 1/11-881. URL: https://don.kyivcity.gov.ua/files/2019/2/14/buling.pdf (accessed November 10, 2022).
7. Moffitt, T. E. Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review. 1993. 100. P 674-710.