School bullying has become a major problem for students today. Not only does bullying affect an individual in the short-term, it also often affects people in the long-term. Additionally, bullying that is especially heinous or prolonged can lead to severe depression or attempted or successfully completed suicide. Thus, parents need to be aware of what bullying is as well as the warning signs to look for in their children to prevent the severe and long-lasting effects of bullying on their kids.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, nearly half of children experience bullying at some point during their primary or secondary school years. Additionally, they report that at least 10% of children are bullied on a regular basis. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, a national survey of students in grades 6-10 showed that 13% of respondents said they have bullied others, 11% of respondents said they have been bullied, and another 6% said they have both been bullied and have bullied others.
There are four major types of bullying: physical, emotional, mental, and cyber. No matter what type of bullying someone engages in, he or she is trying to gain control over or intimidate another person so that the bully feels superior. Bullies behave in a purposeful manner and choose their victims based on who looks like an easy target rather than for any particular reason against the victim.
Physical bullying occurs when one person intentionally causes harm to another person or person’s things. Physical bullying may include kicking, punching, hitting, shoving, pinching, slapping, choking, and more. When a person utilizes physical bullying, he or she is harming another person in order to gain a sense of superiority and control. The bully uses physical intimidation in order to keep his or her victims quiet. Victims stay quiet in order to not anger the bully and cause further harm to himself or herself. Even if a victim is asked about cuts, bruises, or broken bones, he or she may lie about the injuries instead of giving up the name of the bully who harmed him or her.
Verbal bullying is another type of bullying in which children may participate. Verbal bullying may include any of the following actions: name calling, telling a person not to play with other people, teasing, insults, spreading rumors or lies around the school about someone, taunting, and refusing to talk to somebody. Verbal bullying also includes jokes about someone’s religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, or the way someone looks, acts, or his or her abilities. Verbal bullying is the easiest form of bullying to get away with.
Relational bullying is another type of bullying seen in schools. This type of bullying occurs when one or more people exclude, shun, ignore, or isolate someone.
Finally, cyber bullying involves sending messages or pictures through electronic devices, such as computers and cell phones, to someone in order to bully them. Pictures and messages may be sent through instant messenger, e-mail, text message, or through voicemail.
Children and teens who are bullied at school may suffer short-term and long-term effects. In the short-term, bullying in all forms can cause a lot of fear in the victim. The bellied individual may be afraid of being in the hallway alone, of going to the bathroom, of eating lunch in the cafeteria, going to recess, riding the bus, or being at the bus stop, as these are all common places bullying occurs. Fear of being bullied can cause concentration and learning difficulties, which may lead to poor grades in school. Children or teens who are being bullied may begin to dislike school, find it hard to make friends, and may develop distrust for all of their classmates. Additionally, low self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety, and depression are other short-term effects of bullying. In some cases depression can become so severe, children and teens attempt or successfully commit suicide to end their suffering at school.
Children and teens who were bullied in school may also experience long-term effects of bullying later in life. For instance, children who were bullied may become depressed and experience low self-esteem. They are also at higher risk of having problems with alcohol and/or drugs, may skip school, are more likely to experience headaches and migraines, and are at increased risk of running away from home later in life.
If your child is being bullied in school, you may notice several warning signs and/or changes in your child’s mood or behavior. For example, children and teens who are being bullied at school may not want to go to school anymore; they may try to find excuses to get out of school, such as telling you they feel sick. If your child or teen is suffering from physical bullying, he or she may have cuts, scrapes, scratches, black eyes, broken bones, and/or bruises on his or her body. Additionally, your child’s personal belongings may be missing or damaged, your child may refuse to talk about school or how their day was at school, they may talk about how much they don’t like school or other children there, and they may cry, be afraid, or display unhappiness before going to or after returning from school. Your child or teen may not have any friends, possess sleeping difficulties, such as nightmares, bedwetting, and an inability to sleep, be moody or withdraw from family and friends, want to begin carrying a weapon, refuse to use the bathroom at school, display a drop in grades or lose interest in school, have a loss of appetite, and request extra allowance or lunch money.
If your child displays any of these signs that he or she is being bullied, it is important that you sit down and talk to your child or teen immediately. Do not allow the bullying to continue. Talk to the school about what’s going on. Let your child or teen know that bullying is not an acceptable behavior. Provide your child with a lot of emotional support and get him or her professional help for any depression, anxiety, or fear he or she possesses. In general, children who are bullied who also receive emotional support and professional help do not suffer long-term consequences.
Bullying takes many forms, but the effects of any type of bullying are often detrimental to a child’s mental health. If you suspect your child or teen is being bullied, take swift action by working with the child’s school to stop the behavior of the offender. Bullying can lead to severe consequences, including suicide, but with quick and appropriate action, those who are being bullied will likely not suffer any long-term consequences of the bully’s behavior.
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center:
Wise Geek: What is Physical Bullying:
Wise Geek: What Are the Types of Bullying:
Suite 101: Types of Bullying:
Three Types of Bullying:
Think Quest: Types of Bullying:
My Child Safety: What Are the Effects of Bullying:
Education: Bringing Learning to Life: What Are the Long-Term Effects of Bullying:
Parent Link: Bullying: