Bullying Facts, Statistics, Prevention And Effects
- Topics: Bullying
- Words: 1608
- Pages: 4
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Bullying has been around for many years. We have seen bullying in many different places and have heard about it in the news as well. In recent years, it has become even more prevalent in children and teens. Not only are they being bullied in school, but they are also being victims of cyberbullying because the use of social media is very common for children and teens. Being bullied has many negative effects and it can lead to not only mental problems, but also physical problems which at times may not be noticeable. Children and teens all deal with being bullied in many ways but unfortunately, many children and teens don’t speak out about being bullied and they don’t get the help they deserve in order to deal with the bullying. Many steps have been taken in order to help with those who are experiencing bullying/cyberbullying. Preventing bullying has become a big issue not only in the classrooms, but also nationwide. Being able to define bullying and seeing the effects it has on kids is key to knowing what prevention tools are needed to help the children and teens who are victims of bullying.
Bullying is defined as “Any unwanted aggressive behavior by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm.”(Maiuro, 2015, p.32) Bullying is widespread in the United States. The types of bullying can be different in many places, but it does affect all those involved. It affects those who are the bully, those who are the victims of bullying and then it affects those who witness the bullying.
What makes someone a target of being bullied? No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Some factors that do put children at risk of being bullied are, children who are different from their peers such as being overweight or underweight, those who wear glasses or different clothing, those who can’t defend themselves, those who are depressed or anxious, or those who are less popular and don’t have as many friends (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018). Between 1 in 4 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. Bullying increases during the transition from elementary to middle school as students become more engaged in being a part of a social status. As you go into middle school, you start to see cliques being formed. Those who don’t fit into a specific clique, can be at risk of being bullied than those who are part of the popular cliques. The 2017 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and bureau of justice) indicates that, nationwide, about 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying. Many times, being a victim of bullying can have many different negative effects on a person. Knowing these effects can be very helpful with getting the help a child or teen needs.
There are three types of bullying, verbal, social, and physical bullying. Each victim of bullying doesn’t always deal with the same effects. The effects of bullying are not just physical, but they are also mental. Usually physical effects of bullying are noticeable right away. Bullying can affect someone’s sleep and eating factors. Some somatic problems caused by bullying can range from headaches, bedwetting to stomach pain (Dekker, 2013.) Children become less involved in school and have a decrease in their grades because they aren’t showing up to school or being active in school. Although one may think the physical bullying hurts more, words stay with someone forever. This can lead to those mental effects one suffers from bullying.
Children and teens who are victims of bullying are more likely to have higher levels of depression than those who aren’t bullied. They often times experience sadness and loneliness a lot more than those who don’t experience bullying. When this happens, children tend to isolate themselves and become very quiet. Kids who are usually very outspoken no longer feel the need to want to talk to anyone anymore. They don’t want to be social in school or in other extracurricular activities. Many times, children and teens don’t speak out about being bullied. Not getting the help they need to deal with being bullied can lead to these kids turning to suicide as their way out. Bullying alone isn’t the reason why kids commit suicide, but it is a huge factor as to why kids ultimately do commit suicide. Kids should never feel like they don’t have a way out. We need to help in as many ways as we can, not just in school but also at home.
The bullying doesn’t end when a child or teen leaves school. Another form of bullying that is being used a lot more is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as “The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.” Many children today have started using social media at a much younger age which makes it easier for them to become victims of this cyberbullying. Facebook’s research found that 81% of parents say that children start using social media and messaging apps between the ages of 8 and 13. Sometimes cyberbullying is a lot harder to deal with because many times you don’t know who is directly bullying you. Many bullies hide behind a screen in order to cyberbully others. The 2017 school crime supplement (National center for education statistics and bureau of justice) indicates that, among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15% were bullied online or by text.
The “Texting Suicide Case” is an example of cyberbullying. This case is about a woman who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself thru text messages and phone calls. Conrad Roy was just 18 years old when he died by suicide. He had been exchanging messages with his girlfriend Michelle Carter. In these texts he was telling her how he was having problems and didn’t want to live anymore. She went on to encourage him to kill himself by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide fumes in his truck. She was even on the phone with him when he got out the truck because he regretted what he was doing. Nonetheless, she encouraged him to get back in the truck and ultimately kill himself. Roy had mental health issues already and Michelle knew this, so she preyed on that. All Roy needed was someone to hear him out and tell him that things will get better. Michelle knew what she was doing, and she had no remorse for it. Michelle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter but unfortunately was only sentenced to 15 months in jail. Since bullying and cyberbullying have become a bigger problem, states have taken action to help prevent further bullying.
Although we can’t fully prevent bullying from happening, we can lower the number of children and teens who become victims of bullying. Many state policies require some type of professional development for staff or prevention programming related to bullying (Rivara, 2016). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state and local lawmakers have taken action to prevent bullying and protect children. Each jurisdiction, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories (state), addresses bullying differently. Some have established laws, policies, and regulations. Others have developed model policies schools and local educational agencies (districts) can use as they develop their own local laws, policies and regulations. Most state laws, policies, and regulations require districts and schools to implement a bullying policy and procedures to investigate and respond to bullying when it occurs. These preventions should not only be enforced by schools and lawmakers, but parents need to take action too.
Promoting family environments that support healthy development is a way that the parents can get involved. Children who grow up in a loving and caring family environment are less likely to become bullies themselves. Having adults that children and teens can speak to can also help prevent bullying. Students who perceived their teachers as supportive and involved are more likely to do well in school and less likely to display behavior problems such as bullying. Kids spend half their time at home and the other half at school, so it is necessary to have the help they need both in school and at home. Many times, kids don’t speak up because they feel like they are not taken seriously. By being able to speak out about what they are dealing with, it can help these suicide rates go down.
Overall, bullying won’t ever completely end but it can be prevented with just some simple steps. Knowing the signs of someone being bullied is very important. You aren’t just looking for the physical signs, but also the mental signs. Bringing awareness and knowing the effects of being bullied and cyberbullied can help prevent the bullying rates from going up. Enforcing the prevention tools is key to making sure that kids are getting the help they need. Bullying is very much preventable; we just need to make sure we don’t overlook it anymore. School officials, lawmakers and parents all play a huge role in preventing bullying. If you see someone being bullied, say something and take action. Don’t let someone suffer in silence because they are afraid to say something. Some children need a voice of someone who will be heard. You can be the reason why someone stops being a victim of bullying.
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