Olweus, Dan In response, schools and policymakers are turning to psychologists like Dan Olweus, PhD, of Norway, who is regarded as a pioneer and "founding father" of bullying and victimization research. He developed the original Olweus Bully Prevention Program, which has been used in more than 50 countries around the world.
Dr. Olweus conducted most of his work before there was any real understanding of the impact of peer harassment on adolescents' mental health. However, his efforts have had an important influence on researchers today because they forced educators to take bullying seriously. Before Dr. Olweus' work, students would call people names or hit them over the head with objects as punishment for being different. Now schools understand that treating bullying as simply another form of conflict resolution is not effective and needs to be replaced with programs that address the underlying causes of violence.
Dr. Olweus also was one of the first researchers to study cyberbullying. He concluded that this type of bullying shares many of the characteristics of traditional face-to-face bullying and should be treated the same way by educators. Since then, other scholars have built upon his work by examining how technology influences bullying behaviors, what factors predict who will become a bully or victim, and how best to prevent bullying attacks via online means.
Olweus, Dan Although there are few articles on bullying prior to the mid 1970s (particularly Burk in 1897), Dan Olweus conducted the first comprehensive and meticulously recorded research on bullying (with a big database). He started out studying violence among school children and eventually moved on to study bullying. His work on bullying was published in 1975.
It is worth mentioning that prior to this research, there were only a few reports of minor studies on the subject. Most research at this time was done by journalists who relied on reports from students and parents. There were also a few academic studies but they were not systematic or based on scientific methods.
Olweus set up base lines at his schools to record rates of bullying and then interviewed students about their experiences with bullying. He found that almost one in five students reported being bullied at some point during the previous year and that boys were more likely than girls to be targets of bullying. Also, bullies tended to be older students while victims were usually younger. Finally, Olweus found that if you were a victim of bullying, it would most likely affect your feelings about going to school and learning things.
These are just some of the findings from Olweus' study.
1993 Olweus wrote a book on bullying in schools. Olweus published "Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do" in 1993, and it is now largely regarded as the world's top authority on bullying behavior. The book offers guidance for teachers, parents, and students on how to prevent and deal with bullying in schools.
Its release came just months after the death of David Cleveland, who had committed suicide when confronted with being beaten up by his classmates. Before his death, he made a video asking people to buy the book so others would know what bullying is and how to stop it.
Olweus drew on his own experience as a teacher to provide advice for other educators. He also included research studies from around the world that examined different methods of preventing and dealing with bullying.
In an interview with CNN, Olweus said that while writing the book he tried to be as objective as possible, but still gave readers personal recommendations for ways to prevent bullying.
He also mentioned some countries where school violence is common, such as India and Russia. In these countries, he said, students need to learn conflict resolution skills rather than fighting back because this type of violence often continues after the initial incident.
Finally, he advised parents to be vigilant and involved in their children's schools to keep them safe.
Psychologists counteract bullying by investigating the mental and emotional issues that contribute to kids bullying. Jaana Juvonen, a developmental psychologist, has spent a decade studying bullies and their victims. She says one of the most important things children can do to prevent being bullied is to learn how to get along with others and form friendships.
When kids are young, they need role models who behave responsibly toward others. Parents should set an example by treating others with respect and not engaging in name-calling or other forms of aggression. When kids are old enough to go to school, they need to be enrolled in classes where they will not be singled out for abuse. Schools must take steps to protect vulnerable students by providing them with a safe place on campus where they won't be harassed or attacked.
If you suspect that your child is being bullied, ask them what's going on. Kids will often hide their problems from parents because they don't want to be punished or told not to play with their friends. If your child refuses to talk to you about it, follow up with questions such as "Does this boy or girl keep coming into your mind when you're trying to think about something else?" or "Do you feel like you might try to hurt yourself?"