2003 December 10 Wednesday
Bullies Are Popular And Have High Self Esteems

Here's another nail in the coffin of the foolish myth that a utopian therapeutic society can make everyone behave better by making them feel better about themselves.

More than one in five 12-year-olds are repeatedly either bullies, victims or both, and bullies are often popular and viewed by classmates as the "coolest" in their classes, according to new UCLA research from the most comprehensive study on young adolescent bullying in an ethnically diverse, large urban setting.

Bullies, seven percent of the students, are psychologically strong.

"Bullies are popular and respected: they are considered the 'cool' kids," said Jaana Juvonen, UCLA professor of psychology, and lead author of "Bullying Among Young Adolescents: The Strong, the Weak and the Troubled," published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics. "They don't show signs of depression or social anxiety and they don't feel lonely.

"We hope that these findings help us dispel the myth that bullies suffer from low self-esteem," Juvonen said. "Our data indicate that bullies do not need ego boosters. Unfortunately, this myth is still guiding many programs conducted in schools. Instead, we should be concerned about the popularity of bullies and how to change the peer culture that encourages bullying."

Depression, social anxiety and loneliness are common among victims of bullies, who are nine percent of the students in the UCLA study.

"Young teens who are victims of bullying are often emotionally distressed and socially marginalized," said Juvonen, who also works as a consultant to Los Angeles elementary schools on developing anti-bullying programs. "Many of the victims are disengaged in school.

"Victims are reluctant to talk about their plight," she said. They suffer is silence and often blame themselves. This is one of our challenges for intervention: We need to provide students with educational settings in which they feel comfortable talking about their plight. But we also need to give kids tools to effectively deal with bullying. One method of doing so involves engaging students to talk about strategies that might help them stop bullying and tactics that make them feel better after being bullied. Teachers can facilitate the generalization of these skills if they help students mediate incidents between students."

The victims have even worse lives than those shown in Hollywood coming-of-age teen movies.

Students who witness bullying often encourage bullies by watching someone getting pushed around or called names or helping a classmate spread rumors about another student, Juvonen said. Bystanders rarely intervene with bullying. Juvonen regards this as one of the biggest challenges for effective anti-bullying intervention.

"Bully-victims," the six percent of students who both bully and get bullied, are the most disturbed group of all, Juvonen and her colleagues found. They are by far the most unpopular students, least engaged in school, most disruptive in class and they also reported somewhat elevated levels of depression and loneliness, Juvonen said. Teachers ranked these "bully-victims" as having by far the most conduct problems.

Kids are much closer to the Hobbesian state of nature and lessons from studies such as this one are useful for understanding international relations between states unrestrained by any higher authority. Also, the bullies bear some resemblance to dictators who can be surprisingly popular and defended as they beat on their own people and neighboring countries.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 December 10 06:13 PM  Human Nature


Comments
Victim Bully said at December 10, 2003 8:06 PM:

The point about international relations just seemed to come out of nowhere. That aside, the author's findings make sense, I can still remember how popular some of the bullies were in my junior high school, they definately weren't people suffering from low self-esteem or social anxiety. As for the victims, I fear there is little that can really be done to protect them even though activities like martial arts training can help raise self-esteem and deliver justice. Human nature is beyond betterment.

Randall Parker said at December 10, 2003 9:45 PM:

International relations: Okay, the transition may seem abrupt. But while reading the article I kept thinking of Saddam Hussein as a grown up bully who had a whole country to beat up on.

Human nature as beyond betterment: that has enormous political ramifications. Utopia can't be achieved. We have deeply rooted characteristics that make humanity incapable of being shaped into the kind of stuff that utopia citizens would have to become. This article about kids and bullies is a reminder of that to me.

Billy said at January 6, 2005 2:09 PM:

Thank you for helping me with my Journalism assignment!!! You guys are the best

vigilantethug said at September 20, 2005 8:23 PM:

I want to start off by saying fuck bullies and popular people. I think that instead of trying to fit in were you can't get in people who have endured such treatment should form up there own shit and make it to were the popular people and bullies feel ackward. I myself used to get bullied by people in school.It amazes me how people(teachers, parents) only step in when the victim defends themselves and not when the bullies are doing their dirty work. I've seen teachers that encourage teasing and bullying and think it's funny.I think that the bullied should get together all over and organize and gang up and start wooping the shit out of bullies and dish out some serious justice.If they see them on the streets or anywhere else they should get them on sight. I feel NO REMORSE for bullies that have been killed or have received the same treatment that they have inflicted on so many others that never did anything to them.I nearly pee my pants laughing when I go into the local wal-mart or k-mart and look at the pathetic waste of sperm cell former bullies and popular people stacking that minimum wage pay.It's truly entertaining to see people like that when they get older and see how fucked up there lives truly are. I'll end this off by telling all bullies out there that I like a lot of others hate you and wish you and your kind the worst. If you can do something for the rest of society it would be to slit your wrist or jump off a bridge.To all the bullied I say keep your heads up and don't kill or hurt yourselves because of your situation.It's a new day and there is hope.Just severely beat the bully instead.

vigilantethug said at September 20, 2005 8:24 PM:

I want to start off by saying fuck bullies and popular people. I think that instead of trying to fit in were you can't get in people who have endured such treatment should form up there own shit and make it to were the popular people and bullies feel ackward. I myself used to get bullied by people in school.It amazes me how people(teachers, parents) only step in when the victim defends themselves and not when the bullies are doing their dirty work. I've seen teachers that encourage teasing and bullying and think it's funny.I think that the bullied should get together all over and organize and gang up and start wooping the shit out of bullies and dish out some serious justice.If they see them on the streets or anywhere else they should get them on sight. I feel NO REMORSE for bullies that have been killed or have received the same treatment that they have inflicted on so many others that never did anything to them.I nearly pee my pants laughing when I go into the local wal-mart or k-mart and look at the pathetic waste of sperm cell former bullies and popular people stacking that minimum wage pay.It's truly entertaining to see people like that when they get older and see how fucked up there lives truly are. I'll end this off by telling all bullies out there that I like a lot of others hate you and wish you and your kind the worst. If you can do something for the rest of society it would be to slit your wrist or jump off a bridge.To all the bullied I say keep your heads up and don't kill or hurt yourselves because of your situation.It's a new day and there is hope.Just severely beat the bully instead.

tfwcu09 said at July 12, 2008 9:44 PM:

I have to agree with vigilantethug in that think bullies really are pieces of shit. If you put one up against someone who is their size and can fight decently, you'll see that they are nothing. I particularly hate the ones that ALWAYS hang out in groups. They are nothing but a bunch of pussies who only hang out with their sorry ass buddies because they are nothing individually. I personally think that bullies are the scum of the earth and they are the reasons kids snap and go crazy and become mass murderers, therefore I do not have the slightest bit of sympathy or remorse for bullies.

killallthebullies said at February 28, 2009 2:13 PM:

I'm with vigilante thug on this. Bullies are scum, scum, scum! I first tried to kill myself when I was nine years old- NINE YEARS OLD!--because of the bullying I had to endure. DId I talk to someone? HELL YES! I talked to the teachers, to the principal--not a thing happened. Not a damn thing! Except when I fought back--then action was taken! I had the problem, I was at fault. I learned from that to never trust authority, to always figure out how and why they were lying to me. When I read of bullies today and of how the teachers and schools just let it happen, also of the assholes who defend bullies, who talk about standing up for yourself, tell somebody, learn how to fight--those jerks have obviously never been bullied. Bullies are not human. Bullies should have their arms cut off, their legs cut off, their eyes cut out, their teeth pulled out, their noses cut off, their genitalia removed, hot grease poured over their bodies and then be chained by the neck outside of the schools where they bullied! I laugh when I read of bullies getting hurt; there should be more stories like that instead of so many stories about people killing themselves because of bullying.

Jessixx said at January 11, 2010 10:06 AM:

My daughter is going to a public school. There is a 10 year old bully there who said to my daughter in the beginning of the year "I will kill you". The bully got suspended for a week. The days went on and on 01-04-10 my daughter was grabbed by the shoulders and pushed down to the ground by the same bully. I was not notified till 01-07-10 in a letter stating that my daughter taunted the bully.My daughter got 2 days Detention and the bully got 1 day. My daughter wants to make friends with the bully. I told my daughter to stay away from her. I was so mad at the teacher that I called the principal on 01-08-10 left a message at the office. He called me back and said that I would need to talk to my daughters teacher. The teacher called me back stating that my daughter taunted the bully.The teacher also said that "Taunting is worst than Physical". I told her that she is wrong. The teacher started getting upset at me Stating that, "Had your daughter not lied to me and said that nothing happened, had me walk around getting witnesses, she wouldnt have gotton the 2 days suspension" ... I felt like I was the one in trouble now.

Bully Hunter said at February 12, 2010 11:52 AM:

Here's one example that most of these pathetic creatures never outgrow their school antics after they enter the grown-up world. They live out their grown-up years acting more in their shoe sizes than their age. I went to a high school reunion back in '88 and lived to regret it (I was highly unpopular those 5 years, graduated in '80). I was at a pub in the local arena and as I scanned the crowds for faces I could remember, I was curtly shoved out of the way by a former classmate with whom I was in conflict during the high school years. He had never changed his ways since those last 8 years, he never even looked at me as he forcefully pushed me out of the way and he never had the decency to ask: "excuse me please?" There were others I could name that also never changed but that one case was the extreme. You will not catch me dead attending a class reunion again. At least with Facebook (my HS has a page there)and Classmates.com I have the power to decide whom I will decide to contact and who will stay in their places as sleeping dogs.

johnny3299 said at April 5, 2010 1:33 PM:

funny how this came out after I graduated high school, I was bullied since 10th grade by the same fat son of a bitch until 2005 when I finally got into a fist fight with him
It's true, teachers, principals, any grown up, wont do a damn thing
it's amazing, im not sure if its the law or there own desire to just not deal with it
Bullying is encouraged and its much more than just other bullies and kids not doing anything, your f****** kidding me right? one of the recommended ways to end bullying? trying to get other KIDS to stop the bully?
from what ive learned is that you have to be smart, catch the bully in his lies, don't make justice for yourself because then, its your fault like Jessixx had put her daughter was being picked on, well im sure the bully was starting up again and her daughter defended herself, but when the teacher went to "find witnesses" im sure they weren't that reliable OR they were friends with the bully or evern just afraid of the bully
Teachers rarely care
Why?
we should have a study done on that

444mastermime said at September 17, 2010 9:12 AM:

I have to say that is even harder when you strike back. I am a fifteen years old French boy who was and still is bullied for 4 years in a row. I have changed in those four years I have learned to control myself better. But even though every year I snap . And that is exactly for this reason that I tell you people that going down the path of violence is not the right choice . 'Why?' well hear my story out and the answer will come to you. One year ago I thought I was awaited in the dawn of a new era of bullyfree year because my so missed bullies changed their school. And I therefore have not and what's more I just had a girlfriend so things were looking pretty bright. Until I decided for no reason whatsoever to take a different road to get back to my home. Since I have lots of luck it turned out that a 13 years old kid named Lucas (he's two years younger then me ) was right behind me with his friends calling me names and asking if I want a fight . I should explain lucas is a typical cool bully who has conections type( with drug dealers ) he is a fake rich caira ( French gangstar in Arab way meaning) with a complexity of parents not being there for him and sexual tensions and needs over girls(there stories about him trying to rape),he is a particulary violent kid( to put it short he is a popular psycho) . It turns out that I am myself a particulary violent kid with hidden strenghts( even though I m skinny ) but I hate my acts of violence and I try to avoid conflict. Getting back to the story he kicks me and calls me bitch I slap him telling to cut the shit out( I was in small alley with not a lot of room and no getaway) he punches me i don't quite fell it but i strike back but not at full force because he is 2 years younger than me. I manedge to control him and I accidentaly grab his hair trying (still not at full power) to restrain him he says that I am a pussyfighter . So I stop grabing him and I say all right I can beat you anyways. He jumps and starts to strangle me in front of his friends who are not moving an inch. I thought at that time that he was finally revealing his true colors. My first reaction to the strangling was not self defense. At first I was in shock and then I told him while he strangled me that he was a nutcase and that he should stop. He didn't. So I went full power and punched his right eye 2 times. He had one blackeye on the right one but he keept on going. I then punched once really hard on the left eye. He got a second black eye and his grasp was weakening but so was my breath . I knew that one more hit he would probably by taking a look at his face anyone could have deducted the same. I was going to lend the fourth hit when suddenly out of nowhere I hear a woman voice screaming 'Stop you fools, it was a woman going down the alley of 50 years age.

444mastermime said at September 17, 2010 10:09 AM:

She stopped our fight I thanked her but Lucas insulted her and me (again). I could resist telling him to look himself in the mirror because he just got uglier( i mean what the hell are you supposed to do in those kind of situations ) the woman didn't believe me when I told her I was defending myself ( can t blame her I only had one tiny scratch on the neck while Lucas had 2 black eyes) I then went back home thinking problem fixed (my parents didn't notice and didn't ask about my day so I didn't have to lie I just didn't tell them.). Later on I had death threats from many puny little friends of Lucas and it was beginning to bug me( oh did I forgot to mention lucas is my school my bad). So one day the last day before the holidays I was quite angry and couldn't restrain myself and after the Lucas gang called me names and throwed me an snowball from behind I couldn t handle it I hit the first guy I saw laughing at full power and almost broke his nose. He was in rage and I was in tears because I didn't control myself I took him to the educatrice ( the ones who solves problems with teens in French schools) and I explained the whole story from lucas the begining and we sorted things out. But it turned the guy I hit was the brother of a tall fat in my grade junkie girl who then made death threats to me publicly I ve had it I was already in tears and she had too many dangerous connections from where I'm from I was in loads of shit but the teachers manadged to sort things out but I made myself lots of ennemies . I manadged to survive the end of the year with lots of bad comments about me . And I flunked my 10th grade . This year everything is going well except for the fact that Lucas is in the grade below me ( even though he acts like he doesn't know me) and the fact out my again fancy pure luck they changed the school schedule to finish earlier Friday till the end of the year . So today I finished earlier and went my usual way back home. There I came across Jules a friend of Lucas whom I knew since kindergarden . Jules was with his not looking at all tough but are reknown fighters friend . They knew I was the one who thought Lucas and start to bully with no originality like in the movies by stealing my cap and making pases so I play hardball and act like I don t give a shit but that's my favorite cap and I fell powerless . Finally I try to get my cap back out the dumpsters where they put it. And I lose it I throw the garbage bin and threaten that next time I'll hit( I know I did exactly what I should have not I gave them the funny show and the opportunity to do it again so they would fight me) ."then go on hit me " says one of the thugs "nextime" I answer him(great going ) . So you see striking back with violence just gets you into deeper shit. Oh and what the fuck am I supposed to do now I'm bound to see them again they live in the same street as I.

violencerules said at November 8, 2010 11:14 AM:

@444mastermime:

"You self-righteous cunt! How dare you sound like you're against vengeance and violence! I support both of them!

If I got punished for being violent, I'd strike back and make whoever punishes me back down. I'm sick of people who are against fighting back when bad things happen to them. Victims have a right to stand up up for themselves and others instead of being doormats.

People who are against all kinds of violence are big babies who are afraid of fighting. But I'm not against all violence because I feel that it's sometimes necessary. But it doesn't mean that I always support it."

@the other bully-hating people here:

"A big thumbs up for you, fellow bully haters! I couldn't have typed what you typed better myself. Bullies deserve to be retaliated against for all the shit that they say and do. Anyone who sides with them deserves bad things happening to them."

@vigilantethug:

"I think that you're the best reviewer here because you remind me of myself. Heck, I support vigilantism like you seem to."

To my fellow bully haters said at January 13, 2011 2:37 PM:

I salute your hatred of bullies and wanting bad things to happen to them, especially to you, Bully Hunter and killallthebullies. You make me glad that people like you exist. Keep up the good work.

And Bully Hunter? I wish you luck in hunting down bullies and giving them what they deserve. Don't let anyone stop from doing those things.

Those who supports bullying should be tortured and killed with bullies.

btonal said at February 22, 2011 9:25 AM:

You've got to rise above it and move on with your life. I was bullied, but do you realize that with all that anger and hatred the bullies are still ruling your world? Yeah, I get angry in just remembering being bullied and had violent thoughts prior to my 20 year high school reunion (I skipped all the other reunions). But after the reunion I realized that adult life is the great equalizer and everybody is screwed up and I might as well get over it and just be on the level. Honestly, I've found that portraying oneself as wounded and defensive can invite bullying.

no name said at March 19, 2011 7:36 PM:

Oh great, another person who types crud in this website. And his or her username is btonal. Well, let me tell you something, btonal:

"If bullies go too far with bullying, they'd pay dearly for it. Here's an example: If one or more bullies pick on the wrong person, he, she, or they could get beaten up and maybe even killed. Heck, he, she, or they could even be thrown in jail for it if they survive.

And who are you to tell others not to be defensive? That's suggesting victims don't have a right to defend themselves. Would you like it if I told you not to defend yourself if I bully you? I think not.

Imagine if you bullied someone one too many times. You'd pay the price.

Can you imagine if a bully entered the adult world and he or she became worse than before? He or she would pay dearly for it.

In this world, people have to learn to defend themselves and others from bullying because too much bullying could lead to the destruction of society."

Anonymous said at April 17, 2011 3:54 PM:

I agree that bullies are the scum of the earth, nothing but pathetic, cowardly, low-life losers who have clear issues with themselves. Personally I think they all need to be lined up and shot so the world can thrive without petty little wastes of life known as 'bullies' ruining the scenery. They are scum, complete and utter scumbags and they all deserve a slow painful death, afterthat tossed in shallow graves so that the dogs can find them and devour their rotten demonic corpses.

iLOSTmyMIND said at October 26, 2011 1:20 AM:

I personally think bullying will never go away. As long as human walk this earth there will always be bullies in victims. The reason for this is that in school the bully will always be popular, he/she will always gets the guy or girl, in etc. In the victims will just have to deal. This should be a f**king crime against nature but that just life. So way not be the bully if the pros are better then the cons the only cons is your an a**hole.


THE NAME OF THE GAME IS SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
IF THE BULLY THRIVE IN SCHOOL JUST CAUSE HE/SHES
IS A BULLY THEN BULLIES WILL ALWAYS EXIST

thismakessense! said at July 25, 2012 2:46 PM:

This post and the article it references are maybe the best explanations I've seen on who bullies and why. Makes so much more sense and never gets apologetic about the idea that these are powerful, popular members of the group. Hell, they have to be!

Zamman said at July 26, 2012 12:14 PM:

iLOSTmyMIND wrote:>"THE NAME OF THE GAME IS SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST"

Nope. It is survival of the most adaptable to new circumstances around, and that's a big difference.

Between 30,000 and 24,000 years ago Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthal interacted. Neanderthal was the bully. Neanderthal became extinct..... even if there are Homo Sapiens bullies nowadays.....

Besides, many different things can be interpreted as "BULLY" Is a bully the kid, the prison inmate, the loud policeman or soldier who directly pushes and hits others around, or is a bully the quiet Rockefeller, Kissinger, priest or politician who subtly and indirectly pushes others around.

Who is a fitter boxer, he who can hit harder or he who can absorb punches better? I believe Natural Selection hasn't yet pronounced its final word on survival.
Who is a better high mountain climber, the tough, strong bodybuilder who lifts horses or the thin hicker who saves energy?

deathtobullies said at July 9, 2013 12:14 PM:

just as i thought: more comments about bullies and bullying. now that i'm here, i must as will respond to two people.

1. at Anonymous:

i couldn't agree with you more. i've had enough of those damn losers of bullies in my life. because of your comment, you're one of my favorite people who posted in this website. if bullies go too far in their antagonism, you can bet that all the people who have been tortured by them like hell would rebel against them like there's no tomorrow. and that's what should happen bullied victims.

2. at iLOSTmyMIND:

it seems to me that you're hypocrite in that you claimed that bullying should be a crime but also suggested that bullying will always exist and it's something that victims have to deal with. well, i say, "to hell with bullies and bullying! i've fuckin' sick of those damn asswipes! i will never tolerate bullying as long as live!"

i don't know who you called an asshole. but if you called a bullied victim an asshole, that makes you a liar and an asshole. if you allow bullying to exist for too long, you could get tour ass handed to you. hell, i bet that you live up to your username

imagine if you went out there into their world and became a total jerk to everyone. they'll likely beat the crap outta you. what if you have any loved ones and tell him, her, or them to let bullies harass her to he, she, or they die? you'd suffer the consequences for it.

i remember some jerkass telling anti-bully people to let victims get bullied and the so-called benefits that come with being bullied. what a load o' bullshit. bullying never did anyone any good an' never will.

if you ask me, that survival of the fittest stereotype's a load of a bullcrap. true survival of the fittest is the ability to adapt to new situations instead of the capacity to be nasty and cruel to those who are weak.

what's just as bad as bullying is support for bullying. hell, there are people who support it. in other words, they expect all victims to suck up to bullies. well, how would they like it if those antagonists forced them to be their slaves and/or killed them? if they support bullying so much, then they shouldn't be surprised if their fanaticism for those dumb-asses will get them killed. hell, they have themselves to blame if choose to be the slaves of bullies.

and lemme warn you of this: you better watch yourself 'cause you could one day be on the receiving end of an anti-bully.

3. at Zamman:

i agree with you on the survival of the most adaptable to new circumstances around. as i pointed out to iLOSTmyMIND earlier, true survival of the fittest is the ability to adapt to new situations and not the capacity to be nasty and cruel to those who are weak. besides, there will always be weak people in this world. as my dad once told me when i was in eighth grade, people have to accept their weaknesses.

deathtobullies said at July 9, 2013 12:17 PM:

hey, where's my comment?! it was supposed to be there.

deathtobullies said at July 9, 2013 5:24 PM:

oh, there's my first comment. sorry for my impatience. it's just that i expected it to appear right after i posted it on here.

deathtobullies said at July 16, 2013 9:54 AM:

i forgot to add "with" between "happen" and "bullied." my apologies.

nobody said at October 1, 2013 10:29 PM:

I do agree with u on most of wat u typed, killallbullies. However, I must point out to u that not all figures of authority are villains. In fact, there are ones who heroes. One example of that is they they stand up for victims of bullies. Why, I remember when one of my teachers in high school made one of the guys who picked on me write a letter of apology to me. After I read it, I forgave him.

If you ask me, killallbullies, there are bullies who rebel against authority. And it isn't limited to fictional bullies.


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