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A new strategy to tackle bullying of children both inside and outside the school gates was recently released by the South Australian Department of Education.
It has adopted the national definition of bullying that directly links it to a misuse of power. The strategy also questions the role "movies, television, newspapers and the internet" could play in promoting violence.
Bullying - Way - People - Power - Harm
But bullying is just one way people misuse power to harm others, and violent media as the cause of violent behavior in young people is an old idea.
My research challenges simplistic answers about what causes young people to be violent.
School - Bullying - Violence - People - Lives
To reduce school bullying we need to look at what is known as the invisible violence that young people are typically exposed to in their everyday lives.
Invisible violence isn't direct action, such as bullying between people. It's a feeling of violation experienced through culturally accepted behaviors and power imbalances.
Violence - Eruption - Outpouring - Pressure - Power
Physical violence can then be thought of as the visible eruption or outpouring of the pressure built up through invisible violating social and power inequalities.
The new Bullying Prevention Strategy aims to reduce the likelihood of bullying by addressing individual factors, social dynamics and social and cultural factors.
Point - Strategy - Research - Area - Evidence
On this last point, the strategy says: "While research in this area is still emerging, there is evidence that social and cultural factors can influence children's experiences of bullying."
The strategy suggests there is a need to better understand the influence of media on behavior.
Idea - Violence - Movies - Games - Media
But the idea that violence in movies, games and other media is corrupting young people has been extensively researched and is regularly a source of unwelcome moral panic.
Political leaders are often quick to point the finger of blame at violent video games as the cause of youth violence. In contrast, the results of significant research into a straightforward link between violent media and violent behavior suggest this...
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