Bullying is a serious problem faced by our youth today. It does not matter if the bullying takes place in the school, neighborhood or on the internet. It can lead to serious problems for both the victim and the perpetrator.
There are short and long term effects of bullying that should be noted for both the victim and the bully.
It is important to realize that once it is determined a bullying situation exists, immediate help needs to be given both the victim and the bully.
Short Term Effects for the Victim:
*Extreme depression – always seems sad and withdrawn
*Loss of self-esteem or self-worth may occur
*Trouble sleeping – bad dreams – nightmares
*Bed wetting might occur, especially in younger victims
*Physical Symptoms (upset stomach, headache, etc…)
*Anxiety about going to school or riding the bus
*Truancy could result as a result of being bullied
*Anxiety about attending social events with peers
*Drop in grade average
Short Term Effects for the Bully:
*Difficulty in maintaining friendships with others
*Generally does not do well in school
*Tends to be truant and often drops out of school
*Higher risk for alcohol or substance abuse
Long Term Effects for the Victim:
*If given immediate help the victim should have limited long term effects. This is especially true if the victim is given assistance by a child mental health care professional to resolve the issues of being victimized.
*If the bullying continues for any length of time:
**Chronic depression leading to suicidal tendencies
**Long term psychological post-trauma disorders
**Alcohol or substance abuse may result
Long Term Effects for the Bully:
*Increased percentage are convicted of a crime by age 24
*Increased dependency on alcohol and illegal drugs
*Increased chance of spousal or child abuse as an adult
*Continued difficulty in maintaining long term relationships
It is also shown through surveys that boys and girls, victims and bullies, all have a much higher occurrence of carrying concealed weapons to school.
Our children have a tendency to keep the acts of bullying to themselves. Less than half who are involved report the instances to an adult or parent.
This, combined with the statistics that show over half of our children are either a victim of bullying or a bully, makes this a major issue when trying to secure the safety of our children.
There are many websites available for adults who are concerned about the issues of bullying. I urge any parent, adult and child care professional to visit one of these resources to learn more about what can be done to address this serious issue.
The short and long term effects of bullying and cyber bullying are too great to ignore. Immediate action needs to be taken.