More than 80 percent of school-age children surveyed have both engaged in and fallen victim to bullying, the National Institute for Educational Policy Research said Friday.
The finding indicates that every child has the potential to become involved in both sides of bullying, the institute said, adding that it will compile a handout based on the survey results for circulation among teachers of all schools.
Bullying cases at elementary, junior high and high schools across Japan tallied by the education ministry stood at around 100,000 in the 2007 academic year, slightly lower than in 2006.
The institute studied roughly 4,800 students at 13 elementary and six junior high schools in an unidentified city in the Tokyo area for three years from 2004, it said.
Of 687 children who were in the first year of junior high school in June 2004, 401, or 58.4, percent said they have suffered none of the three forms of bullying surveyed — being shunned by friends, ignored or talked about behind their backs.
But only 135, or 19.7, percent gave the same answer in November of their third year, and 80.3 percent said they have been bullied.
When asked if they have acted as a bully, only 18.7 percent said no in the third year, against 81.3 percent who said yes.
A similar survey of 738 elementary school pupils from the time they were fourth-graders to sixth-graders showed that 97, or 13.1 percent, said they had never suffered from bullying, while 86.9 percent said they have been bullied and 84.0 percent said they have acted as bullies.
In the most serious cases, two of the junior high school students and 10 of the elementary school kids said they have been bullied at least once a week throughout the three-year period.
“Victims are constantly changing,” the institute said, urging teachers and others addressing the problem to “alter the perception that bullies and victims are specific children.”
Hosei University professor Naoki Ogi, a critic on education issues, said: “The survey is significant in confirming that any child can fall victim to bullying. But the important thing is to consider how we can prevent bullying.”
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