This article contains information on everything you should Know about bullying and how to prevent one.
Bullying is an act that has been in existence for many decades. It is a persistent act of intimidating a weaker person to do something, especially with the intention to make life unpleasant for another person.
Although, it’s become more rampant and worrisome in recent times as it has resulted in the death of many of the victims in high school and college. Sadly, young students, mostly tend to fall victim to this dastardly act.
Bullying is an act of intimidating a weaker person to do something. It is a persistent act intended to make life unbearable for another person.
These days, it’s quite difficult to tell for sure when a person has been bullied. Hence, bullying must meet the following requirements to be considered bullying. They include: malintent, imbalance of power, repeatedness, distress, and provocation.
Types of Bullying
There are various types of bullying in existence.
- Direct Bullying and Indirect Bullying: Direct bullying is different from indirect bullying. Direct bullying involves direct contact with the one being bullied. Indirectly, it may not necessarily involve physical contact. Direct bullying can be in the form of throwing something at a person, or yelling hurtful words at them while an example of indirect bullying might be spreading rumors about a colleague not a classmate. This form of bullying is very common in school.
- Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is another very common type of bullying. As the name implies, it happens strictly online. It can be hurtful comments on a personal site or deceptive private messaging. This type of bullying is not always taken seriously, but the fact remains that many cyber bullying eventually became direct bullying.
- Physical Bullying: Physical bullying can also be referred to as direct bullying. It involves physical contact with the other person. This can be in the form of assault or eliciting others to cause physical harm to a person.
- Emotional Bullying: We may have heard the word “emotional torture.” This Emotional bullying can be likened to emotional torture, which may involve causing emotional hurt to another person. This can include saying or writing hurtful things, causing others to gang up on an individual, intentionally ignoring, or spreading rumors about a person.
- Verbal Bullying: Verbal bullying is another very common type, it could imply using any form of language to cause the other person pain. Examples include using hurtful language, body shaming, using derogatory words, etc.
Causes of Bullying
There are many factors that cause bullying. If there are students that have tendencies towards bullying and the school climate allows it, bullying is likely to occur. Bullies can spring from poor home foundations, low self-esteem or poor social skills.
However, sometimes, people are bullied for no reason, although no reason justifies being bullied. However, bullies tend to bully their victims due to the following reasons:
- Physical appearance
- Sexual orientation
Bullying has a lot of consequences. It can range from negative long-term to short term consequences for both the victim and the bully.
Those who have experienced bullying can have low self-esteem which can lead to depression. Some victims of bullying have physical and/or emotional distress as a result of school bullying.
Short-term effects of bullying for the victim
Individuals are different and are likely to exhibit varying behaviors during or after bullying by a peer. With relational aggression on the increase and cyber bullying at its peak, bullying can be ongoing for long periods of time before help is sought by victims. Sometimes, it can be difficult to decipher when a person is bullied. However, here are common effects of a bully on the victim:
- Social isolation
- Loss of appetite
- Low self-esteem
- School avoidance
- Symptoms of anxiety
- Feeling of shame
- Constant illness/sickness and other physical complaints.
Short-term effects of bullying for the bully
As humans, empathizing with the bully may seem very difficult. Notwithstanding, it’s vital for parents and schools understand that bullies engage in bullying for a reason, hence, the need to pay attention. Without seeking help, the behavior will persist and possibly worsen, over time.
As weird as it may sound, the bully also faces their challenges. Thus, the effects of the bully can include:
- Poor performance in school due to constant suspension from school
- Increased truancy risk
- Difficulty maintaining social relationships
- High risk of substance consumption and abuse.
Long-term Risks of Bullying For the Victim
Without timely intervention, short term effects may likely escalate, exposing the victim to long term risks of the following:
- Chronic depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Increased risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts
- Anxiety disorders
- Poor general health
- Self-destructive behavior like self-harm
- Substance abuse
- Difficulty establishing trust
Long-term Effects of Bullying For The Bully
Without proper treatment, the bully is likely to continue with bullying behavior into adulthood. Some of the effects may include:
- Increased risk of spousal or child abuse
- Risk of antisocial behavior
- Substance addiction
- Reduced chance of being educated or employed.
All of these and more are short term and long term effects of bullying on the victim and bully respectively. While timely intervention for bullying usually includes getting help for the victim, the offenders shouldn’t be left out too.
Ways to Prevent Bullying
Due to how long bullying has been in existence, it seems like there are no preventive measures for bullying. Regardless, there are measures that can be taken to prevent or reduce bullying to a negligible rate. Here are some of the possible measures:
1. Positive School Climate
School climate is the general quality and character of students in the school. A positive school climate goes a long way in preventing bullying in schools. Teachers and administrators can encourage a positive school climate by enacting and implementing strict school policies to check every vices.
Schools need to have policies in place. Bringing anti-bullying into every part of the curriculum can also go a long way. This way, there will be no room for bullying.
2. Proper Upbringing
Sometimes, the school should not be blamed categorically; these kids first came from a home before school. In other words, whatever character is displayed at school has a root from home.
Hence, to curb bullying, children should be taught from an early age what affect their behavior and actions have on others. This would help them understand other people emotionally.
3. Timely Identification of Warning Signs
The ability to identify the warning signs of bullying in time, can go a long way to help check bullying.
Sometimes, teachers and parents are often busy and insensitive to the behavior of children, but if attention is paid in identifying the warning signs of bullying and probably stopping the small behavior, the chances of becoming a bully would be avoided.
4. Open Communication
The power of effective communication is oftentimes underrated. Unknown to many parents and teachers, communication is key to preventing bullying. When children can feel free to talk to their parents, teachers or any adult around them, they are more likely to report cases of bullying, for a timely solution.
However, it is one thing to talk to an adult and another thing to be listened to. Sometimes, Victims of bullying, try to talk about it, but no one listens to them.
It is therefore; very important for parents, especially, to listen to their kids when they try to communicate, ask questions and be in the know about what is happening to the wards at school.
5. Take Action
If you find out that there is a case of bullying happening at school, no matter how little, take necessary steps to prevent it. Come up with an action plan to prevent bullying.
6. Strict Punishment for offenders
Teenagers engage more in bullying their peers than adults. As a result of this age of offenders, it might be difficult to take certain legal actions to dissuade bullying. Regardless, it is advisable to set strict Punishment for bullies in extreme cases such as bullying resulting in the death of the victim.
Bullying is a wicked act that goes on in different Institutions and firms, although it appears to be more rampant in educational institutions. The degree at which bullying takes place in schools makes it a tough issue to tackle. However, if schools, parents, and students all commit to preventing bullying, it can be stopped.
Sadly, the majority of students do not report bullying in schools due to fear of intense bullying, not wanting to worry parents, feeling that nothing can change the situation, and fearing the teacher or parent would make the situation worse.
There is also a reluctance to report witnessing an incident, for similar reasons.
Childhood bullying has serious effects on both short and long-term health of children. Immediate intervention and long-term follow-up can help mediate some of these effects. It is imperative that schools, families, and communities work together to understand bullying and its consequences and find ways to eradicate bullying both in schools and communities.
It doesn’t matter if you are a student, educator, parent of a child or adolescent, or a community member. Everyone has a role in the prevention of school bullying, and most people have directly or indirectly participated in, witnessed, or experienced some form of bullying in schools.
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