Children lose their sense of justice as they grow and the prevention of bullying relies on the help of people who witness the violence, the Child Welfare League Foundation said yesterday.
A survey on school bullying conducted by the foundation showed that 26.4 percent of the students polled, who ranged from elementary to high-school students, said that they had been bullied at school at least once.
Nearly 20 percent said they still lived in fear of violence from their peers — as 15.2 percent said that they had been bullied in the past year and 3.5 percent said they had been targeted at least twice to three times every month over the past year, the foundation said.
Foundation research and development director Chiu Ching-hui (邱靖惠) said bullying begins at an early age.
“Eleven percent of high-school students said they were bullied in kindergarten and 22.6 percent experienced bullying in first or second grade in elementary school,” she said. “It shows that children require guidance in social situations and character education at a very young age.”
Most of the bullying faced by the students was verbal, such as teasing, ridicule and name-calling, which accounted for 73.1 percent, with exclusion making 63.5 percent, the survey showed. It also indicated that girls were more likely to employ these forms of bullying than boys.
Chiu said 65.2 percent of the children surveyed said that they were disinclined to seek help from teachers or parents when they were targeted, since the involvement of adults, it was believed, would make the situation worse.
“If violence becomes the culture in the class, there will always be another victim,” the foundation said, adding that 40.3 percent of bullied children said bystanders “did nothing,” while 26 percent said their peers “were amused.”
“The role of bystanders is crucial to stopping the bully,” Chiu said. “While 22.7 percent of the students polled said they have a strong sense of justice, nearly one-quarter indicated it was not important.”
“What caught our attention was that as children grow, their sense of justice fades, with high-school students having the least sense of justice among the three groups,” she said. “The decreasing numbers indicate that a sense of justice is not a value promoted and treasured in schools.”
The foundation is to launch “Just Campuses,” a campaign aimed at tackling bullying.