Through the years, individuals reach a stage of life called middle and late childhood. In this stage, children witness physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development that is most familiar in this phase. As a matter of fact, in this stage of their life span bullying is the most common among children between the ages of six to 12. Bullying is often a serious and sensitive topic that affects children in many forms, such as, physical and emotional.
As mentioned in the article, ‘Links Between Social Information Processing in Middle Childhood and Involvement in Bullying’, “bullying is a negative, intentional behavior (physical, verbal or psychological harassment) displayed by children towards their peers. It is repeated over time and implies an imbalance of power” (Camodeca et al., 2003, p.116). Intimidation tends to involve three different groups of students: bullies, victims, and bystanders. Also, there exist several types of bullies, the most common is the aggressive bully, then the passive bully, and finally the bully-victim. These types of bullies differ from each other due to their unique characteristics. For example, the aggressive bully is always seen in typical situations, they tend to be physically strong, fearless, and confident. Unlike the aggressive bully, the passive bully often is seen as a more insecure individual, they have low self-esteem and live an unhappy life at home. The last type of bully, the bully-victim, is often rarely seen in a typical bullying situation. This type of bully is most likely to witness intimidation themselves and do this out of anger and revenge. Furthermore, some of the consequences of being bullied by another peer often lead to poor academic performance, depression, anxiety, and suicide. The book ‘Life-Span Development’ by John W. Santrock states that “bullied children reported more loneliness and difficulty in making friends, while those who did the bullying were more likely to have low grades and to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol” (p.322). Overall, bullying can be present in a physical situation, socially, verbally, and/or through cyberbullying. These four types of intimidations are the most commonly seen. Santrock also mentions that “boys are more likely to be bullies than girls…” (p.322). In a future bullying circumstance, we do not have to disregard who and how it will affect children in their middle and late childhood stage.
Nowadays bullying has been an immense problem around the world. It manifests the most in schools, where children have more interaction with other children. According to Dennis & Satcher (1999), “As universal experience, 15% to 20% of children will be victimized by bullies during their school years” (pg.76). However, during the middle/late childhood stage where children are between six to 12 years of age, they have a high probability to experience bullying due to the cognitive and social development they are going through. According to Smith, Madsen & Moody (2006), “younger children have not yet been socialized into understanding that you should not bully others” (p.267). Children during middle and late childhood do not have the same understanding and have not yet developed the social skills to prevent and deal with it.
Bullying in the middle/late childhood stage where children attend elementary and middle school usually affects both genders equally, what makes it different is that each gender experience different types of bullying. Boys tend to experience name-calling and sometimes even physical aggression whereas girls get bullied most of the time by name-calling (Dennis & Satcher,1999, p.76). Even though bullying affects equally to both genders it can also develop from other things such as racial discrimination, clothing, or appearance.
Children who are the victims of bullying tend to be the ones who do not look like the majority. According to Dennis and Satcher (1999), “other researchers have found that racial minority children report being called names more frequently than racial majority children” (p.79). This same concept applies to children that wear different types of clothes or are different in appearances such as their weight or height.
The consequences that bullying brings during middle and late childhood are far beyond physical. As mentioned before, bullying is also verbal, social, physical, and cyber. The different characteristics developed during middle and late childhood because of bullying are all physical, cognitive and socioemotional.
In the socioemotional aspect, “bullied children reported more loneliness and difficulty in making friends, while those who did the bullying were more likely to have low grades and to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol” (Santrock, 2018, p.322). This means that the socioemotional aspects of the victims of bullying are that it affects the interactions with others in their lives. The feeling of loneliness can drive a kid from the middle and late childhood to be socially withdrawn. Not to mention that it can also lead to depression, panic disorders, anxiety, agoraphobia and ultimately suicide (Santrock, 2018, p.323). According to Santrock, agoraphobia means “abnormal fear of being in public, open and crowded places” (Santrock, 2018, p.323). It can also cause lower self-esteem (Santrock, 2018, p.323). From the perspective of the bully, “bullies are at a greater risk for antisocial personality disorder” (Steele n.d., para.26).
According to a research study on the cognitive skills changes of bullying, victims of bullying exhibit “lower cognitive flexibility” (Malloy-Diniz, et al., 2016, para. 1). During this time kids also classify each other into the different statuses of popularity. Which can lead to children bullying other kids based on where they stand. There’s also a probability of lower academic achievements or general performance after bullying.
The physical changes caused by bullying, according to Lisa Morris (2014), are stress, headaches, muscle pain, digestive upset, weight changes, altered immune function, and health problems (para. 3-10). It also goes through a fight or flight response since the body under dangerous situations is prone to react to protect itself (Morris, 2014, para. 3). However, according to Morris, when the flight or fight response is triggered every day because of bullying, it will lead to greater physical changes (2014, para. 3). The longer someone experiences bullying, the greater it will negatively affect their lives.
Bullying does not have a time frame in specific because this does not happen just at a certain age or period of time. Bullying can happen in many ways and can happen in any stage of life at any age. Bullying would be a lifelong situation. Starting at five years and up would be the lifelong expectancy of being able to get bullied during that lifespan. There are different types of bullies and bullying at a young age six-eleven, kids usually suffer from verbal bullying that is when people make fun of you or tell you things that don’t make you feel good or trying to get you mad on purpose.
Ages twelve to eleven can get more serious as this is when kids begin to take bullying to a higher level by using social media which is cyberbullying, they begin to bully other people through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. They begin to do physical damage as well as that other person can fall into depression and mixed feelings causing them to hurt themselves. Another main form of bullying at this age is physical bullying which is the worst case of bullying in our opinion as kids are now getting beat up for small things as money or just because it pleasures the bully to do damage on someone else physically. Bullying affects a lifelong span but deals most of the damage during your youth and this effect that bullying has on people doesn’t just happen on the victims during the actual time of the bullying but it also affects the bully himself at a later age in life as they begin to notice what they have done and caused to other people that could have taken their life. This affects a lot of kids in the middle and late childhood as they grow up to be teenagers, they start noticing the damage they have caused to their classmates and people they see on a daily basis. 80% of people have seen someone getting bullied in their life and 2 out of 4 kids in the U.S said they tried to help prevent bullying.
Bullying is one of the main factors in the increasingly high suicide rate in the world today. Bringing attention to the problem of bullying is important because bullying is one of the main reasons that children and young adults are suffering from mental disorders and low self-esteem. It is important to know about the topic of bullying because it will bring awareness to the issue and hopefully lead to the end of bullying.