Bullying Rates among Immigrant Children

Bullying is a common phenomenon among children of the immigrant society. The challenge they face in the new society ranges from race discrimination to the language barrier. Children who have emigrated from other countries feel weak in expression. Children whom they relate with in new habitations find immigrants’ weaknesses and utilize them to bully. Harassment from native children leads to immigrants developing some frustrations that may take a lot of time to disappear. Therefore, when this case of frustration happens in schools, children may develop a fear and a negative attitude towards education.

An analysis has been done concerning frightening of children in different parts of the world. A child is expressed as an individual who is below the age of eighteen years. Therefore, when looking at the bullying rate of immigrant children, it is necessary to consider the person under the bracket of eighteen years. The bracket will thus comprise of juveniles from the nursery level to adolescent kids.

The aim of this study will be to examine different forms of bullying among children who have emigrated from different countries. It will also seek causes of harassment by natives. Causes may be related to race, tribe, and even class.

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One of the key grounds of bullying of immigrant children is ethnicity. A study conducted in Turkey on the reasons of bullying of immigrants noted that negative ethnicity contributes to bullying, especially when an immigrant belongs to a minority (Suarez-Orozco & Carhill, 2008). A minor may belong to a different cultural background that may be disregarded by other children. Therefore, this group of immigrants is treated as outcasts and is therefore bullied by other children.

In the same study, class difference is also seen as a factor that contributes to bullying of school-aged children in the country. The study shows that immigrant children mostly come from a poor background. The background of these children in comparison to the natives seems to have a wide boundary. Children are, therefore, mostly harassed by the natives and are exposed to bullying. Even though most immigrants are from rural areas of the same country, bullying is paramount in the country (Strohmeiera & Spiela, 2003). Children from rural areas of the country are considered as ignorant and backward. They are described as such since they lack comprehension and taste of life in the city. Therefore, they become victims of bullying by city-born children.

Repercussions of bullying immigrant pupils in school are connected with bad class performance. Pupils usually lack self-esteem and thus become discouraged and get low grades. Findings of the study have showed that most immigrant students claimed that discrimination and bullying were among the reasons why they performed poorly in class. Most of them felt excluded from the school community, whereby their public image was destroyed.

Findings on the effect of bullying of immigrant students are further offered by psychologists. In their research on immigrants’ perspectives relating to homework experiences, bullying is seen as a factor that leads to poor performance at school. The author has performed a study on a group of 192 high school students in the United States of America. Students whose opinion was researched were solely immigrants. Among findings, there was a fact that most students could not perform their homework for different reasons. Student engagement in school was one of the factors that led to poor performance. Learners explained that it was difficult for them to engage with native pupils. They claimed that the natives usually had a negative attitude towards them. Since student engagement is considered as one of the factors influencing homework completion, lack of engagement becomes a barrier to their studies.

Student engagement is said to be worsened by bullying of immigrant students in school. High school immigrant students could not afford to seek assistance from their fellow native students for the fear of being bullied. Bullying developed to such an extent that students failed to seek necessary assistance from their teachers (Abada, Hou, & Ram, 2008). A thought that they could be treated poorly by teachers just like by students did it to them. Although most of the US community is becoming integrated as many immigrants enter the country each year, there are many cases of discrimination of immigrant students.

Immigrant discrimination is also a common aspect in Switzerland. A study done by a group of students from the University of Bern has showed that there exists discrimination of immigrants by their peers. The review has been focused on oppression and reception of peers in kindergarten programs (Suarez-Orozco, Pimentel, & Martin, 2009). Kindergarten classes are mainly composed of children below the age of five and six. The study, therefore, has been concerned with research of bullying in this group of children.
The review has been carried out on a sample of 568 boys and 522 girls. The average age is 5.8 years. The questionnaire was to be completed by teachers since pupils were not able to do that by themselves. Teachers indicated nationality of pupils with the help of blood relations. The study entailed capturing effect of confined dialect experience on persecution and bullying of children.

Immigrant offsprings disclosed less approval by aristocrats and more bullying and victimization by local peers. In other words, there was a lot of discrimination of immigrant children by native children. Discrimination was mainly attributed to the inability of immigrants to speak an articulate inborn language. Little resident kids could, therefore, bully immigrant children. Tutors were also found to discriminate immigrant pupils (Tartakovsky & Mirsky, 2001). Disparities in handling immigrant children occurred as a result of their inability to express themselves in the local language compared to native children. Teachers, therefore, were found to pay more attention to native children than immigrant children.

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In the United States of America, there are varied forms of victimisation. Usually, a greater percentage of victimized children are incoming children. The US status displays negative expectations. However, the natives are commonly victimized and bullied in school more often than immigrants. According to the national data survey, white students’ rate of victimization stands at 35%, being the highest when compared to other races. African-Americans’ immigrate rate is 31%, while the Latinos’ one amounts to 28% and Asian immigrants account for 18%. These rates show that even though the whites are the dominant group in the country, they experience greater harassment than immigrants.

Although this statistics shows the number of reported cases of victimization in percentage, it may not reflect the actual case on the ground (Cheung, Chudek, & Heine, 2011). American natives may be very active in reporting every case of harassment while other groups may be reluctant in terms of reporting. Therefore, in-depth investigation needs to be done to scope out the actual scene.

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Victimisation and hounding incidents in the United States of America are mostly associated with race. Different races are said to be more superior than others in different regions of the earth. When a popular race intermingles with a less popular race, there is a likelihood of victimization of the less popular race. The whites are deliberated as a supreme race globally. When a person of another origin migrates to a white-dominated country, he or she will experience some harassment. For school-aged children, the trend will be high since at this age bracket is when bullying is at the highest level.

Race is considered as a major course of bullying in the US schools. Students of the African origin, commonly known as African American students, have been found to be the leading group in this respect. It is suggested that African American children are usually subjected to such treatment. The African society is mostly viewed as uncivilized and poor by the rest of the world. The race is usually humiliated everywhere on the globe. The reason for such treatment is a fact that poverty and backwardness have thrived on the African continent. Historical slave trade has made Africans form a major part of the US population. The group has been initially poorly mistreated by the natives and has been viewed as lesser human beings in most European nations. African Americans, therefore, respond to dehumanization by bullying immigrants from other races.

Gender is also a major parameter when bullying among immigrant children is concerned. Both boys and girls are associated with the act of persecuting their age mates. A study done in a Norway school to investigate association of gender and bullying has found that boys are more active in terms of this activity. The study has indicated that Norwegian girls are friendlier to immigrants and low bullying activity has been reported. In contrast, Norwegian young men have been seen to be victims of bullying. From the study, most male immigrants have been said to be harassing native boys in school (Suarez-Orozco & Carhill, 2008). This reaction is contrary to expected experiences that the natives are the culprits of the circumstance. The inborn in this case may be seen to be victims.

Norwegian children bullying immigrants reveal a turning point that immigrants fall victim of bullying to the natives. Most of the countries’ data show that the natives are responsible for the ill activity against immigrants. They are the ones who physically and emotionally harm immigrants. In the study of Norwegian children, immigrant boys are seen to extend bullying towards locals. The group of study mainly encompassing adolescents reveals that immigrant boys are at a higher risk of bullying than local boys.

Findings of Norwegian students do not relate to that conducted in the United States of America where there is a disparity concerning a language spoken by the youth versus acquisition of medical facilities in the country (Fandrem, Strohmeier, & Roland, 2009). In the United States of America, it is easier for an adolescent to get necessary medical care if he or she speaks English as the first language. The survey shows that nurses and other medical providers alienate and bully children who speak another language apart from English as their first language.
In school, this group of children is said to pass through vigorous psychological, as well as physical harassment from their fellow children, as well as their teachers. Non-Hispanic white English speakers are well-treated in school by their teachers and are the ones who bully other races in class. Contrary to Norway, immigrants face bullying in the form of physical torture as well as verbal harassment.

There is some bullying that is extended to children of the Asian origin in the United States of America. Children of the Asian origin are considered as more talented in class, especially in sciences, than Native Americans and African Americans. They usually perform distinctively in class. Their classmates thus bully children and their level of participation in class goes down (Rutter et al., 1974). It has been established through research that most students of the Asian origin would rather keep quiet in class than answer a question to which they know the answer very well. Their action is termed as demoralizing, especially among teachers who counsel them in class.
Asian Americans are said to be poor in English as their second language. Their way of pronunciation of words makes them feel uncomfortable when talking. Native American students usually use this weakness in bullying and harassing Asian American students. Cohesiveness that usually develops within students, therefore, lacks in school and most immigrants as well as local children drop out of school.

Bullying does not only involve physical and psychological torture on a one-to-one situation. Media have also been used by children to bully their fellow children. Internet and social media are a major tool that is being used to carry out the vice. Social media have widely been used by children from well-off families to discredit those from poor families. They usually take their pictures and post them on a public forum and write ill things about poor children. Posts and comments that follow are disgusting and are considered to be bullying against children from poor families.

Children from rich families afford some expensive gadgets compared to those from the poor background. They use items such as computers to speak ill things about poor children. Children from poor families feel abused by posts against them and their families. They, therefore, fail to concentrate in classes and do poorly in class work.

Bullying among immigrant children is said to be influenced by several factors. Children’s background is the main factor that attributes to harassment. Kids from the needy background are frequently named as the victim of the vice (McKenney, Pepler, Craig, & Connolly, 2006). Off-springs from the rich background usually bully immigrant kids from the needy background. Poor children are despised as they cannot afford a luxurious lifestyle like that of the natives. Physical and verbal abuse forms a part of discrimination against immigrant children with a poor background.

Race is the second attribute that is used as a platform for discrimination against immigrant children. Some races are described as weaker compared to others in various regions of the earth. Local children usually discriminate the black and Asian Americans in the United States of America. In most European countries, African immigrants are always ill-treated. For example, children of the African origin are constantly bullied in countries such as Spain and Russia. Some theories such as the Darwin theory of creation are mostly used to imply that Africans are real monkeys that evolved into human beings. The use of such words against African immigrants is a form of bullying that makes African children uncomfortable, especially in class. There are minimal actions that are taken against native children who bully African immigrant children in these countries. Therefore, the trend continues to affect immigrant children.

Their fellows also discriminate children on the basis of culture. Verbal communication is the fundamental definition of culture. The majority of immigrant children are unable to communicate smoothly in the cultural language of the natives (Raaska et al., 2012). Children who migrate to the region with a huge population of a different tribe are mostly affected as other children discriminate them. It is, therefore, important for the country to enhance integration of tribes and enhance positive ethnic integration.

Children are mostly affected by other children and older people in many parts of the world. There is a great need to enhance positive interaction between children in areas affected by discrimination. Immigration is seen as one of the platforms that expose children to abuse in the form of bullying from the natives. Children who undergo bullying in the society usually develop an inferiority complex that makes them have a retarded growth of mind. This is because they lack a free will that will help them interact with the natives. Interaction of that nature helps children to develop talents that they can use in developing their future careers.

There are various strategies implemented to stop harassment of immigrant children.

  • Foremost, harassment of immigrants has been termed as a crime both at school and in the society. Various forms of punishment have been extended to those who have been found practicing the vice. In the society, bullying is termed as a crime in various communities. A person who is seen bullying his or her fellow countrymen may be fined or jailed by the use of legal laws. The United States of America have come up with a law protecting immigrants and citizens from harassment. At the school level, the school principal is required to punish students who practice the vice against their fellow students. These rules have marked a great milestone in preventing harassment and protecting from immigrant children from bullying.
  • Secondly, sports have been developed to united all people globally and ensure that the negative attitude to a certain group of people is abolished. Sports such as football have been used to unite people from different regions of the world. Some aspects of discrimination such as racial discrimination have been reduced through games. Players from different continents sometimes unite to show solidarity against the vice. Popular players from different races usually unite to enhance growth and development of a global village that appreciates all people without any form of discrimination.
  • Religion has also played an important role in uniting people and condemning discrimination against any group in the society. Many races, both native and immigrants, usually unite in prayers and various religious teachings condemn the vice. This practice has been praised as religion creates a sense of brotherhood among people.


There is an urgency to protect children from bullying in the future. International organizations that deal with children rights such as the UNHCR need to develop some rules that will protect children from discrimination. These rules will then be used as standard laws in all countries and, hence, children will be protected from the vice. People who will be found guilty of discriminating immigrant children will be strictly punished through the court of law. Apart from creating laws, the society has a role of ensuring that immigrant children are protected. They need parents and caretakers to show their off-springs the importance of respecting immigrant kids notwithstanding of any cultural differences. In doing so, children will be protected from bullying and a positive co-existence will be established.


Abada, T., Hou, F., & Ram, B. (2008). The effects of harassment and victimization on self-rated health and mental health among Canadian adolescents. Journal of Social Science & Medicine, 67, 557-567.

Cheung, B. Y., Chudek, M., & Heine, S. J. (2011). Evidence for a sensitive period for acculturation: Younger immigrants report acculturating at a faster rate. Psychological Science, 22(2), 147-152.

Fandrem, H., Strohmeier, D., & Roland, E. (2009). Bullying and victimization among native and immigrant adolescents in Norway: The role of proactive and reactive aggressiveness.The Journal of Early Adolescence, 29(6), 898-923.

McKenney, K. S., Pepler, D., Craig, W., & Connolly, J. (2006). Peer victimization and psychological adjustment: The experience of Canadian immigrant youth. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 4(2), 239-264.

Raaska, H., Lapinleimu, H., Sinkkonen, J., Salmivalli, C., Matomaki, J., Makipaa, S., & Elovainio, M. (2012). Experiences of school bullying among internationally adopted children: Results from the Finnish Adoption (FINADO) Study. Child Psychiatry Human Development, 43(4), 592-611.

Rutter, M., Yule, W., Bercer, M., Yule, B., Morton, J., & Baoley, C. (1974). Children of West Indian immigrants – Rates of behavioural deviance and psychiatric disorder. Journal of Child Psysiology and Psychiatry, 15(4), 241-262.

Strohmeiera, D., & Spiela, C. (2003). Immigrant children in Austria: Aggressive behavior and friendship patterns in multicultural school classes. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 19(2), 99-116.

Suarez-Orozco, C., & Carhill, A. (2008). Afterword: New directions in research with immigrant families and their children. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2008(121), 87-104.

Suarez-Orozco, C., Pimentel, A., & Martin, M. (2009). The significance of relationships: Academic engagement and achievement among newcomer immigrant youth. Teachers College Record, 111(3), 712-749.

Tartakovsky, E., & Mirsky, J. (2001). Bullying gangs among immigrant adolescents from the former Soviet Union in Israel: A psycho-culturally determined group defense. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16(3), 247-265.

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