Bullying others develops among children at an early age if their habits and daily activities get unnoticed by their parents, guardians, or school teachers.
A bully can be anyone of any age, race, sex, religious background, region, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. It is not always true, but there are several shreds of evidence that show the bullies were the victims a few years back and still be the victims at home or some other place.
There are always numerous things going on in a person’s mind. When a person feels humiliated by someone who has superiority over him or her, the results will be varying. Some tend to receive a negative message that being physically or emotionally weak is not acceptable. So, they try to learn to manipulate others and themselves as they grow older. Some change the environment where they feel their worth isn’t there. Some allow the bullies to continue whatever harm they have started. It doesn’t mean that the victims enjoy getting snubbed. They don’t know what to do, because with time they find the fault in themselves, and they get somehow convinced that it is wrong with them and not the bullies quite literally.
Bullying is undesired, destructive behavior among school-aged children that includes a real or noted power imbalance. The behavior is recurred, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who get bullied and who bully others may have severe, lasting problems.
Bullying is a consistent behavior that w humiliates the target(s), which involves verbal and physical abuse. It is an act of controlling and intimidating others as a means to acknowledge the offenders’ self-worth and superiority over others. The psychological impact on the victim is so devastating that they never seem to forget everything, even if the abuse has stopped long back.
Is your child being bullied?
Bullying or getting bullied by peers has become a big concern these days. It existed previously also, but the rise in the use of social media among people has given it the chance to magnify to many folds. It now affects countless individuals in different forms. Most individuals like to stay supreme, and hence they capture the best images to flaunt. The social media also have a flip side. It easily convinces people into believing something which might be or might not be accurate. It is where the negative criticism begins, and which has no limit based on the reach and the time interval until it is viral.
Bullying can happen to anybody of any age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and anything that does match the bully’s norms of normal. It can happen to someone in the family by other family members, distant relatives, or at the workplace, school, or college. In general, it occurs to somebody who seems less confident, is isolated, or has very few friends. It reassures the bullies that (s)he is an easy target, and chances are higher that he or she isn’t going to speak up for him or herself.
In the case of children, most of their classmates don’t support the sufferer because they do not want to get involved in mind messing chaos, or some of them get scared of the bullies. Others even get convinced that the sufferers are nerdy and not-so-cool people and somehow deserve the treatment. The school authorities may or may not support the kids. It all depends on school management like how much they ought to be involved and to what degree they interfere in the matter. If no one supports them, the scapegoat gets convinced that (s)he deserved it.
They do not share the matter with their parents as well because they are not sure about their reaction.
“Kids who are obese, gay, or have disabilities are up to 63% more likely to be bullied than other children. Students said their peers get bullied most often because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.”
It threatens people into committing self-harm, suicides, etc. It can also lead to executing vengeful acts such as harming other family members of the perpetrator, literally murdering the bully or the whole group who were directly or indirectly involved. It leaves deep scars in the mind of the victimized individual, who, if not given the proper psychiatric counseling, would take unwelcome steps even after decades. Bullying might question a person’s worth, and (s)he ultimately loses his or her self-esteem and confidence. Before knowing whether your child gets bullied at school, you should know about bullying.
“86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.”
Types of Bullying
Many children and adults experience different kinds of bullying, in which some are obvious to spot while others can become more subtle. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Following are the types of bullying that are more often done by the peers:
Based on setting – in-person (offline) and online
All kinds of abuse, whether it is verbal, social, non-verbal, direct, or indirect, if done without using social media or internet connectivity, everything comes under offline or in-person bullying.
The online bully most often refers to cyberbully is the most common form of intimidating the target victim without even contacting him or her directly. People blatantly use the profile pictures and make a new fake profile, or publish real or photoshopped images and videos to the outside world with the intent of shaming them.
“More girls are cyberbullies than boys, meaning girls are more involved in online bullying as compared to boys. When it comes to being bullied by their peers, girls are more likely to be the target victims as well. 38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. In particular, 41% of older girls (15 to 17 years) reported as bullied—more than any other age or gender group.”
In terms of context or place – home, workplace, school, college
It can happen in any place. The immediate family member or a distant relative can also be a threat to a child. Always remember that bullying is done to uplift a bully’s inflated ego. They are not that confident like they appear. Even a slightest of criticism threatens them, and they feel powerless. Therefore, to feel supreme always, they try harder if the victim strives to fight back with emotions, for instance, crying, acting fearful, getting angry, and so on. These emotions are enough to provide the kind of psychological supply to feed their shallow outlook with the belief that they rule the (perceived) kingdom, and everyone else is their slave.
Direct and indirect bullying
The direct bullying is obvious to witness because the oppressor directly speaks mean stuff, physically harms, or gives clear signals like making fun of the target person with his or her friends regularly.
Indirect bullying involves spreading false rumors about a person to torment his or her reputation.
It involves lots of people who might not even know the facts, but still somehow get involved in speaking illogical statements, calling names, and hence the chain continues.
In terms of providing harm – physical and psychological
The physical harm shows clear signs of bruises, cuts, sprains, fractures, etc. But the psychological impacts are not easily noticeable. The person may develop being fearful always, even if the matter gets resolved. Being the scapegoat can lead to anxiety, chronic stress, or depression, because of self-doubt, they eventually develop. The person can be suicidal and therefore has high chances of attempting it.
Based on visibility – overt and covert
Overt, also known as traditional bullying, refers to name-calling, making direct insults and threats, physically harming, and all kinds of legitimate acts that act as proof. The covert actions are too indirect to understand, such as making facial expressions and bodily gestures that show hate towards a particular person.
It also includes restricting him or her from talking to particular individuals or limiting where they can or cannot sit during lunch or classroom.
Based on behavior – verbal, social and physical
Based on the oppressor’s behavior, it could be verbal, social, or physical, OR the combination of two or more.
The verbal, as the term itself, suggests, refers to name-calling, and speaking means talking things against the person. It could be against the sufferer’s religious beliefs, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin, and so on.
If the intimidator smear-campaigns against the target in front of others by regularly sharing images or some kind of private information that is not supposed to go public, we call it social bully. It eventually leads to social boycotting by the general public, and ultimately causes a high negative impact to the point of chronic depression or even taking extreme steps like suicides.
The physical behavior refers to harming physically, for instance, kicking, punching, pinching, slapping, or even stealing their belongings. In more severe cases, it might also result in compelling someone into doing something that they (victims) consciously know they shouldn’t be doing. For example, terrorizing them with sharp weapons, gunpoint, rape threats, etc. or using those weapons, raping the target, etc.
Whether it is verbal, social, or physical bullying, it can be in the form of, in-person or offline or online, direct or indirect, overt or covert.
Bullying at school
There are many cases in primary, middle as well as high schools that have at least two or three bullies whom everybody wants to avoid being in their surroundings. It is because ordinary people always want to escape the terrible scenario that likely happens in the presence of such overdramatic mean perpetrators. Most educational institutions ignore these issues and take it as part of growing kids’ everyday activities that sometimes occur and pass with time. But, in reality, that is not the case. A person may seek vengeance, and that could make him or her potential criminals in the future, involving murders.
The mass shootings in the United States that occurred in high school (12 out of 15 total cases), being recorded in the 1990s, mostly involved those frustrated individuals who had a history of being bullied. It certainly does not justify the bad behavior, but the point is, if the authority or the people have not acted entirely mute to the incidence that happened right in front of them regularly, this might not have resulted in destruction.
Difference between just joking and bullying
There is always a fine line between “just joking” around and sabotaging someone intentionally. Some children are remarkably sensitive towards remarks. So, if they seriously take nearly all verbal statements directed at them, the parents must watch out the reason behind it. It might be the reason that they have a history of verbal abuse, OR they may be facing different individuals who they think are not taking them seriously in terms of their worth. They could also feel being ignored by their fellow pals, and as a result, they find it hard to channelize their emotions and get overwhelmed. Such types of children have trouble in judging people’s behavior, even after they grow up.
May be some individuals might be bullying them, but others might not be bullying them. The parents and the caretakers must educate themselves and let their children know the difference. In general, most kids are going to find out by their instincts or “gut feelings” that something isn’t right. If their friends tease them, and won’t stop even after the warning, it could turn to severe bullying, and that can occur for several days or weeks, or even years!
After-effects of bullying
Many incidences of suicides also involve those who were once the victims. Following are the after-effects of bullying to those who become the victims:
A feeling of loneliness
Disinterest in activities that were once enjoyable
Less involvement in extracurricular activities
Poor overall performance in school or workplace
Poor self-worth and esteem
Having a hard time controlling the anger
Suicidal thoughts or committing or succeeding
The above issue might have short to long term effects, that depend upon how long have they been bullied, and to what extent. The above issues might have short to long term effects depending upon how long they got bullied and to what extent. It can also depend upon many other aspects like whether it confined to just verbal abuse or got extended to physical harassment as well.
If a person is just in 1st or 2nd grade, then bullying can be forgotten, but if it occurs during his or her teenage time or adulthood, the effects are severe it will last a lifetime. Especially if they deal with personal home-related issues, as well such as parental conflicts, poverty, witnessing alcoholism, separation of parents, or parents being too busy in their world.
Now the question arises on how to stop bullying. First of all, the bystanders (those who witness the incidences) must get involved in taking some sort of action like complaining to school or college authorities or even the police in extreme cases. Jot down the pieces of evidence that support your claim through audio or video recording, downloading, or taking the snapshots of all those images or chats that became public, which intend to provoke someone negatively. Many cases of cyberbullying includes, uploading a real or fake picture or video of an individual to social networking sites or emails, that is supposed to be personal, or those texts that are mentally threatening.
Who are the targets of bullies
The bullies usually target those who seem to have low self-confidence and are kind of loners, who make really few friends and are average in their overall performance in school or college activities. They know that offending those won’t torment their image but will instead label them as cool folks, but the victims as geeks or boring. If the bullies are boys, then chances involve both verbal as well as physical abuse; on the contrary, if they are girls, verbal abuse is usually followed.
What can school or college do in bullying
The school or college institutions must pay attention to the students’ overall behavior with others. If someone bullies someone else, it not only negatively impacts the victim’s mind but also the bystanders who witness this daily. This result lacks trusting the surroundings, and that affects nearly everyone. Every educational institution and workplace must have a psychiatric counselor who does the professional counseling of those individuals who lose their self-worth after a considerable amount of time due to the unwelcoming environment they handled so far.
What can parents do about bullying
Parents must also involve with their sons and daughters so that they better know if their children were the victims, bystanders, or bullies themselves. Since parenting plays a crucial role in a child’s development, it is a must for giving a healthy environment so that these youngsters never struggle in their adulthood later. Parents must communicate with their kids daily as well as their teachers monthly. Keep in mind a few of these parenting tips:
Being authoritative does not mean that you are going to be cruel towards your child, it only means you have to show them a little bit of warmth, love, closeness and a bit toughness.
Nurture a positive family climate
Family is the best place at which children learn new things. If they do not get a positive atmosphere at home it will affect their character very severely.
Teach emotional and interpersonal skills
Children won’t know how to control their emotions very well. Parents must teach them how they should control their feelings and emotions.
Cultivate relationships with school personnel and other parents
You should be aware of your child and their behavior when they are at home and when they are at school. If you have a good relationship with the school personnel then only you can know everything about your child.
Help your child to involve in something productive such as sports activities, art, and craft, singing, dancing, other than getting the much-needed counseling. Teach them that it was not their fault. It had nothing to do with them, but the bully. Watch their activities post-trauma, so that they don’t plan for revenge. Motivate your kids to communicate with those who have a positive approach towards life, are more into making a definite goal rather than putting others down. It will eventually help them become kind individuals in the coming future.
As a community member or part of an NGO group, several seminars must be conducted to the schools and colleges to make everyone aware of its seriousness and its long term negative impact that is likely occurring to everyone who is in that surrounding. As a student, he or she must be of the fact that they are always supported. In the case of bullies, giving punishment is not the final answer. It can be helpful if we use their excess energy on something positive, that might make a change. It can be event management, sports activities, plus weekly or monthly counseling sessions asking them many questions, etc. Do you hate anybody?, Why do you think Miss XYZ is monotonous or unattractive?, Why do you hate XYZ?, Did he or she do something wrong to you?, How would you feel if XYZ behaves the same as you did to him or her and why?
When nothing works, and such people continue their behavior rather than improving themselves, then the best solution is to suspend or expel such kinds of people.
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