One-fifth of young people with a primary and secondary education in Finland believe that bullying others can increase appreciation and popularity among their peers, according to a study published by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL).
The survey was conducted last year and involved more than 14,000 grade 4-9 students from across the country.
MLL Program Manager Jenni Helenius told Yle that the perceived value of bullying is due to hidden norms: although bullying is not generally accepted, the pressure perceived in certain situations causes young people to behave or react differently.
"In friends there is someone in power and others dare not say anything. They can either admire or fear the bully," Helenius told Yle Radio Finland’s current affairs program on Friday and added that young people are often bullied for fear of being left out.
In the study, about one-sixth of students said they had been bullied or abused during the school year, while nearly a third said they experienced having to behave in a certain way to avoid being bullied or abused.
Cooperation between young people and adults needs to be increased
Using the results of the study, MLL also sought to find out if students and teachers work together to prevent bullying.
However, only a quarter of victims of bullying said school adults intervened and that this interference had proved useful. Instead, as many as three in four said they received the best support from other students.
Teachers and staff don’t always see the whole situation, Helenius explained, which is why it’s especially important to consider smaller things.
"Individual situations should be taken into account quickly, such as when things are said harmfully or children are left out. It would be good for other students to pay attention to the abuse and talk about it with adults," he added.
The research results also suggest that young people attach particular importance to their peers coming to their aid when they are bullied, and Helenius added that this also helps the recovery process.
"The experience of shame needs to be changed that it was not the cause of the victim. Hope for the future is important" he said.
Quelle: Die nordische Seite