How to recognize and understand the severe consequences of bullying

When you hear of bullying, most people immediately think about children terrorizing other children. This assumption is common, but in order to act against bullying we need to understand what bullying actually means.

Bullying is defined as coercing and forced abuse or intimidating others. A bully is anyone (child or adult) who is generally overbearing, who verbally harasses and threatens others, or physically assaults someone due to differences in opinion, way of life, gender, race, nationality, or appearance.

Harassing others can be manifested in various ways, but the main groups of classification are verbal, physical and cyber bullying.  Although it may sound strange, verbal bullying is usually just as harmful as physical abuse. It degrades the victim and makes the aggressor feel powerful and dominant. Statistically, verbal degrading is more present among females, but it is common for men or young male adults to also use verbal insults and social exclusion to avoid the consequences of physically assaulting another person. Parents also frequently verbally abuse their children, resulting in severe, long-term psychological problems such as low self-esteem, depression and even suicide.

A person is considered physically bullied if he is repeatedly physically assaulted (hit, slapped, pushed, spit on, or stolen from such as books, lunch money or clothes) or physically intimidated (in schools – mostly by a stronger child or someone of higher social status). It is most frequent in middle school since this is the age when young people want to prove their control over others and show their dominance to their friends. Physical bullying is a problem affecting not only the victim but also other people surrounding him (family, friends). Sometimes children condone and encourage such behavior while they are in large groups, yet they may act completely different when alone. One must act immediately to stop physical bulling. (http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids) Once recognized, address all persons who were present to show and explain why this behavior is unacceptable.

Cyber bullying is a somewhat newer form of harassing as the Internet and social networking are becoming more and more popular. A person is considered cyber bullied if she is being threatened, harassed, intimidated, tormented or blackmailed by someone using digital technology. It is most frequent in minors; however, if an adult uses digital technology to mistreat a child or young adult, it is considered cyber stalking. Cyber stalking comes in various forms, from hateful and demeaning cell phone messages to insults over social media, publishing embarrassing photos and spreading insulting gossip. This type of bullying is difficult to detect and fight against due to the ease of anonymity. Cyber harassment, on the other hand, is public so many people usually witness it which commonly causes young adults severe consequences such as depression and sometimes suicide. This is

because they don’t see a way out of repeated public humiliation. To address bullying in schools (http://www.popcenter.org/problems/bullying/), parents and teachers must recognize the signs and take immediate steps against the behavior. It is important to pay attention to your child behavior. Any change, such as a sudden drop in grades, depression, unexplained cuts or bruises, can be a sign your child is being bullied (http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/collection/bullying-teasing/parent-guide-to-bullying). If you notice your child is being disrespectful toward other children, it is important to act immediately to understand the reasons for the behavior and explain to your child why it is unacceptable to hurt or harass others. Teachers can be of great help.

Explain to your child’s teacher the behaviors you’ve noticed and ask her to watch him in the classroom and make corrections. If your child is being bullied online, you can also print threatening content and get help from law enforcement (http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/how-to-report/index.html), especially if the bully is an adult.

 

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