Bullying is a systematic abuse of power and is defined as aggressive behaviour or intentional harm-doing by peers that is carried out repeatedly and involves an imbalance of power, either actual or perceived, between the victim and the bully. I too was bullied as a kid in my early days of schooling and also found the experience to be pretty ugly. A group of older neighborhhood boys would be after me for reasons that were not entirely clear. I was young, vulnerable, more sensitive and never was I talented at fist fighting. Most day I would make it home safely, but some days I would end up on street fights trying to fend off blows and kicks.
Bullying is very difficult for learners, or anyone, to deal with. It makes leaners to feel afraid and degraded and often it makes them feel like they are worthless. Bullying can cause long-term emotional damage to a leaner. This is both self-evident, and also supported by an increasing body of research. It is not necessary to be physically harm to suffer lasting harm. Words and gesture are quite enough. Pre-school peer victimisation increases the risk of anxiety disorders in first grade. Peer victimisation (especially relational victimisation) was strongly related to adolescents’ social anxiety. Moreover, peer victimisation was both a predictor and a consequence of social anxiety over time. However, Storch and colleagues’ results showed that overt victimisation was not a significant predictor of social anxiety or phobia and relational victimisation only predicted symptoms of social phobia.
It is also clear that those leaners who were bullied are at high risk of self-harming, suicidal ideation and/or behaviours in adolescence. The study conducted by William Copeland show that leaners who are bullied are most likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, health problems and loss of trust as they become adults. And those who have lack of trust are usually more self-harming as they constantly have problems when it comes to making and keeping friends. Moreover, school bullying can result to some of the following long time effect to a learner, to start with, bullied leaners tend to have lingering feelings of anger and bitterness as well as the desire for revenge. Furthermore bullied leaners have an increased tendency of being a loner. More and above, bullied leaners tend to have interpersonal difficulties, including fear and avoidance of new social situation.
Many may argue that there are many programs and organisation designed to provide help and counselling to both the victims and the bullies. After all, we all going to have challenges in life that we will have to overcome at some point, right? I understand this point of view. However, bullying tend to start at an early stage of development of a child, which will eventually make the child to encounter stressful experience at an early age. These can alter levels of stress hormones, and Dr. Bruce lipton research shows that stress can affect brain function which can lead to chronic stress. Furthermore chronic stress is a known risk factor for drug abuse. Bullying can also lead to social stress which also has a dramatic effect on immune system functioning, which in turn can negatively affect brain functioning. Even though the victims can undergo counselling but memories keep on coming back and there is no cure for that but rather they have to live with them for the rest of their lives.
Some may argue that being bullied is not the worst thing that can happen to a child. Many children were bullied but yet still manage to be successful in life and be productive in life. I fully understand these point of view. However, over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it. Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University. A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying. Even though some may be able to fight against bullying but the level of bullying differ and there will be always a fraction of students that cannot cope with the situation.
The evidence above shows that bullying is a difficult situation to deal with as it does not only just affect one generation but also the following generation as well. Bullying is very difficult for learners, or anyone, to deal with. It makes leaners to feel afraid and often it makes them feel like they are worthless. Because of the fact that the act of bullying can cause long-term emotional damage to a leaner. And the fact that bullied leaners have an increased tendency of being a loner, it is clear that school bullying can do irreversible harm to a leaner.