This study examined the awareness, causes and prevalence of bullying behaviour among secondary school students in Kosofe Area of Lagos State. Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State was used as area of the study. Four research questions and four hypotheses were asked and formulated respectively to serve as a guide in the conduct of the study. The descriptive survey research was used to conduct the study. The population of this study consists of all students in schools in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. Two hundred (200) respondents were randomly selected as sample for this study. A structured questionnaire was constructed and administered to the respondents for data collection. The data obtained after the administration of the questionnaire were subsequently analyzed using simple percentages, frequency distribution table; mean and standard deviation was used for analyzing the hypotheses raised. The findings of the study revealed that the students are aware of bullying behaviour in the schools, there are prominent causes of bullying in schools, bullying has effect on students and bullying behaviour is common among students in secondary schools in the study area. Some recommendations were stated as the way forward and they are: The schools and home should work with the counsellor collaboratively to instill good values in their children/students. The counsellor should inform parents to have skills and knowledge in classroom management and control. There should be school-wide education, training and bullying prevention programmes, through behaviour modification theories. The school should provide counselling and support for students at risk of being involved in bullying. Students who bully often need intensive support or intervention, so it is important for schools and social service agencies to work together. The counsellor and teachers must recognize the danger of violent films and discourage their children/students from watching them and use insight training to stop such viewing.
1.1 Background to the study The school is an institution established for the formal education of the citizens of any country. Students acquire relevant knowledge, skills, positive behavior, competencies, values and abilities for useful living in the society at school. While at school, students socialize with others as they work in groups for their positive development. Positive development of students morally, socially, intellectually, emotionally and physically cannot take place if they do not see the school environment as friendly, safe and secure. According toFajoju (2009), only few students or pupils can blend harmoniously with their school mates without experiencing violence in school. World over, bullying of students is becoming more prevalent than ever before. It is also the most common form of aggression and violence in many schools that students engage in (Spiel, Salmivalli& Smith, 2011). Studies in some European countries (Smith, 2011), in South Africa (Malematsa, 2005) and in Kenya (Ndetei, Ongecha, Khasakhala, Syanda, Mutiso, Othieno, Odhiambo&Kokonya, 2007) show that bullying is not only common but also makes schools unsafe as perceived by learners, parents and educationists. Olweus, the pioneering researcher in bullying behaviour defined bullying as a long term exposure of the victim, to physical or verbal attack or social ostracism, intentionally perpetuated by a single or group of students (Olweus, 1993). Bullying is one form of violence that has been threatening the life of students in school in Nigeria. Keashly and Neuman (2010) defined bullying as harassing, offending, excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks. They continued by saying that bullying has occurred repeatedly and regularly and over a period of time. Bullying is characterized by acts of intentional harm, repeated over time, in a relationship where an imbalance of power exists (Pepler and Craig, 2007; Ma Stewin and Mah, 2001).Bullying is not just a child’s play but a terrifying experience faced by many school children every day (Craig, 1998; Beran, 2005; and Thornbery 2010). According to Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, and Cooper (2003:15), bullying is an escalating process in the course of which the person confronted ends up in an inferior position and becomes the target of systematic negative social acts. Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students, and it has everyone worried, not just the kids on its receiving end. Yet because parents, teachers, and other adults don’t always see it, they may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault. Others use psychological control or verbal insults to put themselves in charge. Bullying among students of secondary school occur worldwide, among all problems of secondary school, none is as debilitating as bullying because of its effect on the bully and the victim as well. Bullying is a pattern of behaviour in which one individual is chosen as the target of repeated aggression by one or others; the target person (the victim) generally has less power than those who engage in aggression (bullies) (Baron &Bryne, 2005). Social psychologist in their definitions says that bullying is a psychological violence; a sustain aggression that strips a person of control and dignity (Paszkiewicz, 2010). Bullying is rampant in our secondary school and it has a lot of effects on the students. Is difficult to discover a secondary school today where bullying does not exist. Generally, bullying occurs when one or more persons repeatedly say or do hurtful things to another who has problems defending him or her. Direct bullying usually involves hitting, kicking or making insults, offensive and sneering comments or threats. Repeatedly teasing someone who clearly shows signs of distress are also recognized as bullying. However, indirect bullying – the experience of being excluded from a group of friends, being spoken ill of and being prevented from making friends – can just be as painful. Crick, Nelson, Morale, Cullerton-Sen. Casas & Hickman (2001) observed that three forms of bullying exist: physical, verbal and relational. Physical bullying involves behaviours whereby the perpetrator might punch, hit and/ or steal money from the victim. Verbal bullying includes behaviour such as the perpetrator making rude remarks and/ or name calling toward a victim. Relational bullying also known as indirect bullying (Salivalli, Kaukiainen and Lagerspetz, 1998) involves psychological harm and manipulation of social system. This third type involves situations where the perpetrator might spread rumours, backbite and/ or exclude the victim from the peer group. The forms of bullying change with age throughout the lifespan. The most common form of bullying according to Gadin&Hammarrstrom (2005) is verbal harassment – like teasing and name calling. This consistent with the findings of studies conducted on students in Norway (Due et al., 2005) and in England (Due et al., 2009). Most bullying takes place at the same grade level. However, many times older students bully younger students. Although direct bullying is a greater problem among boys, a good deal of bullying takes place among girls. Bullying between girls, however, involves less physical violence and can be more difficult to discover. Girls tend to use indirect and subtle methods of bullying, such as exclusion from a group of friends, backbiting, and manipulations of friendships (Salivalli, 1998) far more boys than girls bully, and many girls are mostly bullied by boys, but both can be victims of bullying. Asamu (2006) opined that a good deal of bullying is carried out by older students toward younger ones. The older students often exposed the younger and weaker students to the act of bullying. Most bullying occurs on playground or in the classroom but these behaviours also occur in corridors, and in the school hall. Although a substantial portion of students are bullied on the way to and from the school. Bank (2000) observed that some children are at more risk of becoming bullies and victims than others, although this is in no way predetermined. It depends on a combination of individual, family, peer, and school experiences. Among the characteristics of children at greatest risk of bullying and victimization researchers have identified the following: Olweus (1993) and Pepler and Craig (2000) observed that those who bully tend to be disruptive and impulsive and are generally aggressive towards their peers, teachers, parents, and others. They tend to be assertive and easily provoked, contrary to general belief. According to Olweus (1993) aggressive males who bully are not anxious and insecure under a tough exterior and they do not suffer from poor self-esteem. Typically, males who bully have an aggressive personality combined with physical strength. They have little empathy for their victims and show little or no remorse. Olweus further opined that those who bully may come from families where there is lack of attention and warmth toward the child, poor supervision, and use of physical and verbal aggression. They also had often been bullied themselves by adults and will continue bullying provided there are no consequences, the victim does not complain and the peer group silently colludes. Generally, students who get bullied can be regarded as being passive or being submissive victims. They are usually quiet, careful, sensitive, and may start crying easily. They are unsure of themselves and have poor self-confidence or negative self-image. These boys in this group do not like to fight, and they are often physically weaker than their classmates, especially the bullies, and they have few or no friends. In Nigeria today, the attitudes of parents, educators and policy makers toward bullying are changing and it is no longer accepted as a part of a normal childhood experiences. Bullying is now considered a marker of serious or violent behaviour and information on how to effectively respond to bullying is not readily available. Of much concern is that thousands of children are afraid of going to school because of teasing and harassments. It is in the light of the above that the researcher has decided to embark upon this study in order to proffer solutions that might be of help to all stakeholders of Education in the country. Therefore, the research seeks to find out, the awareness, causes and prevalence of bullying behaviour among secondary school students in Kosofe Area of Lagos State. 1.2 Statement of the Problem Bullying is a very serious problem in schools (primary and secondary schools). If not seriously tackled, bullying can lead to absence from school, damage to school property and even death. Some students had been hospitalized as a result of bullying which consequently affected their academic performance. In some cases, the victims of bullying do not report incidences of bullying to their parents, guardians and teachers and end up being emotionally depressed and truants. Students with special needs are worse hit because by their very nature, they are very vulnerable. Several reports on bullying that students loitering during lesson while some play in nearby compounds refusing to go to school because of fear of being bullied. As noted by Aluede (2006) and Fajoju (2009), the use of guns, knives and other dangerous weapons is now more common than ever in Nigerian school system. This causal observation and several reported cases of bullying in schools prompted this investigation with a view to identify the common types of bullying and the causes, factors of bullying and, teachers’ perception about bullying and its impact on academic performance of students and school administrators strategies for managing bullying in school so that the environment couldbecome student friendly for their effective learning. Therefore, this study was designed to explore the awareness, causes and prevalence of bullying behaviour among secondary school students in Kosofe Area of Lagos State. There is the need to be able to identify some bullying traits among schooling adolescents and techniques that could be adopted to curb or substantially reduce bullying among schooling adolescents. 1.3 Purpose of the Study The main purpose of this study was to examine awareness, causes and prevalence of bullying behaviour among secondary school students in Kosofe Area of Lagos State. This general aim is expressed in the following specific objectives which are to: 1. Determine the perceptions and awareness bullying behaviour by students in secondary schools. 2. Determine the perceived causes of bullying behaviour among secondary school students. 3. Investigate the effects of bullying behaviour among students in secondary schools. 4. Examine the prevalence and extent of bullying behaviour among students in secondary schools. 1.4 Research Questions The research following questions was answered in this study: 1. What are the perceptions and awareness bullying behaviour of students in secondary schools? 2. What are the perceived causes of bullying behaviour among secondary school students? 3. What are the effects of bullying behaviour among students in secondary schools? 4. What are the prevalence and extent of bullying behaviour among students in secondary schools? 1.5 Research Hypotheses The following hypotheses were asked and guided this study; 1. The students are not aware of bullying behaviour in the schools. 2. There is no prominent cause of bullying in schools. 3. Bullying has no effect on students. 4. Bullying behaviour is not common among students in secondary schools. 1.6 Significance of the Study The study has the following potential benefits. In the first place, the study findings would boost teachers’ understanding on the bullying behaviours in schools. Second, the study would provide greater insight to the school administrators, managers and teachers on the factors that contribute to bullying. Thirdly, it would provide the need for school counsellors to identify bullies, prevent victimization and help students to interact in more appropriate way with their schoolmates. Finally, it would help teacher preparation colleges and educational curriculum developers to improve their programmes so that teachers can be more effective in dealing with students’ behaviour. 1.7 Scope of the Study The study covered the awareness, causes and prevalence of bullying behaviour among secondary school students in Kosofe Area of Lagos State. The scope of this study covered the perception and awareness, perceived causes, effects and prevalence and extent of bullying behaviour of students in secondary school. 1.8 Operational Definition of Terms Relative to this study, definitions to the following terms are provided in order to clarify each in the context of the topic: Bullying: Bullying is the process of using aggressive behaviour manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behaviour is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. Behaviour: A particular way in which a person behaves in response to a particular situation or stimulus. Awareness: In this context, is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be of events. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being conscious of something. Cause:A thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition. Prevalence:Is a term which means being widespread and it is distinct from incidence. Effect:A change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause. Victim: Is the person who has been hurt.Get Complete Materials