Bullying is a huge problem that has a lot of serious consequences. Especially now, with advances in technology and an increase in cyberbullying, there is no escape from it. Unfortunately, there is still a common belief among most adults that bullying isn’t serious and/or doesn’t affect a lot of kids; however, statistics show that the majority of children and teenagers have experienced/do experience bullying on a regular basis.
Here is the trailer for the 2011 documentary BULLY, which is a powerful film about the seriousness of bullying and how much of a problem it has become.
There is a strong connection between bullying and depression.
Both bullies and victims of bullying are more likely to suffer from depression than those not involved, and those who experienced bullying when they were younger are more likely to suffer from depression as adults. Victims of bullying live in a perpetual state of fear and confusion, which can cause a lot of problems including low self-esteem, physical illness, anxiety, and missing a large amount of school.
Because victims of bullying often struggle with self-worth and depression, they can find themselves in a place of loneliness and desperation that can lead to suicidal thoughts. Recent statistics from Yale School of Medicine show a rise in the correlation between bullying and suicide. Suicide rates have grown over 50% in the past 30 years and is the leading cause of death of children under 14. Victims of cyber bullying are even more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.
Bullying can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts due to many factors including:
Bullying can manifest itself in many ways: it can be verbal or physical and can take place in person or through the use of phones and computers.
Bullying is defined as something that:
– occurs more than once
– involves a perpetrator and a victim (or multiple perpetrators and victims)
– is done intentionally
Because bullying is about power, victims of bullying are more likely to begin bullying others in order to feel like they themselves have power and to feel like they have control over something.
Bullies often exhibit:
– a need to dominate/demonstrate power over others
– impulsive behaviors
– problems with anger management, jealousy and/or anxiety
– an intolerance towards those who are considered “different”
They often have been bullied or abused themselves and usually come from homes where:
– there is little or no affection shown in the family
– there is little interest shown in the child
– parents or other relatives have used threats, force, intimidation or humiliation to get their way
– parents overlook a child’s tendency towards violence or aggression
Victims of bullying are often embarrassed or afraid to talk about it, so they might try to hide it from parents and other adults. Because of this, most parents often have no idea that their child is being bullied.
There are certain things to look out for that might indicate a child is a victim of bullying:
What to do if your child is being bullied:
Similarly, most parents are unaware that their child is the one doing the bullying. Bullies need help just as much as the victims do, so it’s important to recognize when you’re child might be involved.
Common signs that a child might be a bully:
If you suspect your child is the bully, it’s vital to approach them in a non-judgemental way but still let them know that bullying is wrong and that you’re willing to help them. Oftentimes there is an underlying cause as to why a child is bullying others.
If you are being bullied, below is a link to a page on the stopbullying.gov website that provides tips on what to do and how to protect yourself: