Bullying is defined as aggressive behavior that is unwanted commonly among schools. It includes threats, rumors, or can be in a form of physical or verbal attacks. Bullying, also called peer victimization, is done to harm someone in any way (physically, emotionally, psychologically). The one who is bullied feels unprotected and stressful environment. As mentioned earlier the trauma caused by bullying depends on its severity, proximity, and difference of power between the perpetrator and the victim. Other than physical (hitting kicking etc..) and verbal bullying (calling names, rumors, etc.) Cyberbullying is also common which includes sending negative, harmful messages or emails including threats on either social media or blogs, etc. Some common Characteristics of bullying includes:
Types of bullying are as follows:
- Verbal bullying: Bullying can be through writing or saying things such as teasing someone, calling their names, taunting, or threatening someone to harm them.
- Social bullying: This type of bullying means hurting someone’s relationships or social reputation for example spreading rumors about someone or embarrassing someone in public. Embarrassing someone in public.
- Physical bullying: This type of bullying involves physically hurting such as hitting, kicking, making mean gestures, or breaking someone’s things.
Bullying is something that has a severe impact on the child’s cognition. It majorly affects the perception of the child affecting his or her self-image, social interactions, and even academic performance. Bullying in childhood predicts future mental health problems along with behavior issues ranging from depression to suicidal thoughts. These negative outcomes affect every aspect of the child’s life (physical, emotional, social-behavioral, academic) Some of the short terms and long-term effects of bullying are as follows:
- Short term Effects: These effects include stress anxiety, depression, frustration, feelings of isolation, rejection, and maybe poor self-esteem. Children who are bullied may experience changes in their eating and sleeping patterns and may suffer from other health complaints.
- Long term Effects: Bullying can cause children to avoid school and even result in dropping out. It affects their academic performance where they may often have suicidal thoughts.
Young children who have witnessed bullying can also be affected by it. They may feel guilty or unsafe. Their mental health may also be affected by witnessing such events. Depression, anxiety, drug abuse, avoiding school is common among such bystanders.
Bullying and childhood trauma have a complex relationship. Children who are bullied can suffer from trauma such as PTSD. Victims of bullying are more likely to bully others. They may become desensitized by bullying or can also be more distressed.
A study was done in 2012 (Idsoe, Dyregov, & Idsoe, 2012) showed that students who were victims of bullying showed PTSD at the rate of about 27.6% in boys and 40.5% in girls. Children who were once targets and then bullied others showed severe Symptoms.
Researchers suggest that bullying causing childhood trauma cause social or interpersonal difficulties. Such children are more prone to become targets of bullying. Studies of Adverse Childhood Experiences have found that children reporting more such experiences have more chance of exhibiting bullying behavior (Sacks, et al., 2014).
Although it was important to highlight students who are victims of bullying but the language, we use has great power in this case and can have unintended outcomes. We should try not to use words like “bullies” and “victims,”. Instead of using labels like “the bully” the more appropriate way to address them would be by calling “the child who bullied another student” or “the student who was bullied” (rather than “the victim”). We should avoid using labels because they can cause hopelessness and rigidity. Labeling also shows that we are focusing only on internal circumstances.
- Stop.bullying.gov is an official website of the USA government
- Pacers National bullying prevention center works against bullying
- NCTSN learning center also provides bits of help regarding matters of bullying.
- Cyberbullying research center.
Books regarding bullying:
Some of the many books which can help learn about bullying and avoiding it are as follows:
- Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
- The juice box bully by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
- My secret bully by Trudy Ludwig
- Stand tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
- Willow finds a way by Lanna Button\
- Lola Hopscotch and the First Day of SchoolMarie Whittaker and Illustrated by Lily Civil
- The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark by Deborah Diesen
Some videos which can be helpful for kids in understanding bullying and avoiding it are mentioned below from different resources:
- Bullying Prevention During Summer Activities by stopbullying.gov on 30 June 2021
- Cyberbullying research center
What Kids Can Do to Avoid Bullying
kids should treat everyone with respect and should thinking before saying things to others. They should try to protect themselves from cyberbullying for instance thinking before something on media. They also should try standing up for others by being kind to them or by being their friends. If they feel they are being bullied by someone they should tell them to stop or can go to an adult if find it hard to do so.