Not all kids are made from the same mold. Some are strong and confident enough they can’t be bullied. Others are easy targets of abuse from domineering ones. Sadly, bullying is real in this so-called civilized world.
Celebrity bodybuilder, Lauren Powers, who claimed she was bullied in her younger years said:
“You can be the juiciest peach on the tree, and you’ll still run into people who don’t like peaches.”
It’s true. For some reasons, there really are children who seem to enjoy picking on another fellow.
What is bullying?
Bullying is an unwanted, aggressive behavior of school-aged children towards their peers. It involves a perceived or real power imbalance where the perpetrator threatens and attacks his subject physically or verbally on purpose. Such behavior is repeated or is more likely to be repeated over time. Both the bully and the bullied kids may have serious lasting problems.
A behavior is considered bullying when the action is aggressive and demonstrates these:
- There is an imbalance of power. A child who bullies another exerts his power through physical strength, or use embarrassing statements to control or harm his subject.
- A tendency to be repeated. The bully has the potential to repeat his aggressive behavior over and over.
Types of bullying
Bullying comes in four types, but the most commonly used are verbal and social.
Verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is also called name-calling. This involves saying nasty terms or writing defamatory words against the child victim through:
- Threatening to cause harm
- Inappropriate sexual remarks
Social bullying. Sometimes referred to as relational bullying, social bullying involves hurting the victim’s relationships or reputation by:
- Telling other kids to not be friends with the victim
- Making negative facial or physical gestures
- Mimicking the victim unkindly
- Lying and spreading rumors
- Leaving the victim out on purpose
- Playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate the victim in public
Physical harm. As hurtful as social bullying and verbal abuse is a physical attack on the child victim. This involves inflicting harm on the victim’s body or possessions by:
- Pushing, hitting, tripping or kicking the victim
- displaying rude hand gestures
- Breaking or taking away the victim’s possessions
Cyberbullying. This type of bullying can be overt or covert, using digital technologies as tools. The bully attacks any time – in public or in private. Oftentimes, the act is only known by the victim and the bully. Bullies do this by:
- Sending hurtful or abusive emails, text messages, posts, images, or videos on social media
- Posting rumors or gossip against the victim
- Blocking the victim from social media’s forum pages or chat group
Where does bullying usually occur?
Bullying can happen anywhere and any time, but most frequently in areas where there is minimal or no adult supervision.
At the Primary School level, bullying frequently occurs in the playground since this area is usually hidden away from adult supervision. Besides, the noise can drown much of what’s happening there.
Many middle school student victims are bullied inside the classroom, while the teacher is not around.
Hallway and locker room
These areas are also conducive for the bullies to perform their nasty acts.
On the way to and from school
This happens while children walk to or from school. There are also documented cases where bullying takes place on the school bus.
Over the internet
Of course, social media is one convenient tool for bullies in performing their dirty work. With just a click of a button, they reach a wide audience in relative anonymity.
The Impacts of Bullying
Bullying does not only affect the bullied person. It also creates a negative impact on the bully himself, as well as those who witness bullying. Ironically, the bully often plays more than one role. He can both be bullied and bully others. He may also stand witness to bullying acts.
According to experts in child health and human development, bullying is a public health issue that needs to be addressed accordingly. Studies show that bullying has been associated with mental health.
Children and teenagers who are bullied are more likely to develop certain problems like
- anxiety and depression
- irregular sleep and eating habits
- a heightened sense of loneliness and sadness
- loss of interest in the things and activities they used to be doing
- poor academic performance
- acquire varied health conditions
These individuals may even contemplate exacting retribution. And they may do it through extremely violent means.
The bullies, meanwhile, will likely carry the aggressive behavior well into adulthood. And this time, they may engage in more violent acts. These individuals are likely to
- drop out of school
- abuse of alcohol and drugs in their adolescence and adult phases
- get involved in riots and wreck properties
- entangle in criminal cases and traffic violations
- engage in licentious acts
- abuse their spouses, partners, and/or children
Lauren Powers stated in her book, Beneath the Muscle: Unleash You Inner Champion,
“Bullies often don’t outgrow their hurtful and childish behavior. There are still many of them out there. They now walk around in larger adult bodies, but they continue to have very small minds.”
On the other hand, children who witness bullying may resort to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and even drugs. They are also likely to develop mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 in the Philippines