We’ve all heard stories of people being bullied as children, some from the most unassuming celebrities. Or, we may have first-hand accounts of it, because it was done to us in some shape, form or fashion. Regardless, this is the part where knowing what makes bullies tick can be used to benefit your child or someone else’s.
Being Aware of Bullying Signs
If your child tells you that he or she was pushed down in the school playground, you are more than likely to think only one thing, a bully.
And, while no one wants to discover that their kid has become the target of bullying, it can only be beneficial to remain well-versed in this topic. Overall, being aware of aspects surrounding bullying is key.
Bullying can cause one to feel diminished, powerless and ashamed and allows the person doing the bullying to take control over the situation. The concept of bullying has made national headlines, is more than a buzzword and shows no signs of slowing down, as it is on the rise.
The Web site, stopbullying.gov suggests that bullying is undesired acts of aggression among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.
Will the bullying ever stop? No, with time the behavior actually has the propensity to be repeated if the situation is not addressed. Making threats, attacking someone physically or verbally and purposefully excluding someone from a group are all considered forms of bullying.
Kids may bully for a variety of different reasons. But, those who bully typically display bullying behavior towards their peers. Be advised that there are many risk factors that can contribute to the child’s bullying behavior. It is however likely, that these children require support to adjust their behavior and to address any underlying issues that are the root cause of this type of conduct.
Cyberbullying is becoming increasingly widespread, as well. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that occurs with the help of using electronic technology. This includes everything from cell phones, computers, tablets and communication tools including social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and the like), along with text messaging, chat and Web sites.
Types of cyberbullying include deploying mean or cruel text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites or fake profile, even.
Bullying Gone Wrong
To drive this point home, in September 2010 cyberbullying lead to a fatality, such as with the highly publicized Tyler Clementi case. According to authorities, Tyler Clementi’s sexual preference was male. As Clementi attended Rutgers University at 18 years’ of age, his privacy became invaded when his college roommate, Dharun Ravi, set up a webcam in their dormitory to spy on him.
Ravi’s footage showed Clementi during an intimate act. He later invited others to view the act online, too. Clementi discovered what Ravi had done and that he was planning to record him once more.
And, after viewing his roommate’s Twitter feed, Clementi learned he had become the topic of ridicule. Unable to cope with this newfound unwanted attention, he plunged to his death several days later by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Cyberbullying can be particularly traumatic for those who experience it because it can occur 24/7 and can be revealed at any time, day or night. It’s also extremely hard to remove unwanted, inappropriate or harassing messages, texts and pictures once they have been released. And, messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a wide audience, making it virtually impossible to locate its source.
Cyberbullyings’ Far-Reaching Effects
Can there be other effects of cyberbullying? Yes. Those who are cyberbullied are more likely to:
– Ditch school;
– Become substance abusers (experiment with alcohol and/or drugs);
– Receive poor grades in class;
– Encounter in-person bullying;
– Be unwilling to attend school;
– Develop more health problems such as anxiety and stress.
A Call for Action
Whether in-person or over the Internet, there are ways to help lessen the harsh effects of bullying. This includes demonstrating to kids how to treat others. Also, by keeping the lines of communication open; get to know the surroundings of the kids in your life.
You can also teach kids to understand bullying, what it is and subsequently how it works. Lastly, give kids the added boost they need by pushing them to undertake the activities that they love, which can not only build self-esteem, but self-confidence.
What if the situation requires immediate attention? You can contact your school’s counselor, teacher, state department of education, school principal and/or school superintendent. It also can help to seek the help of a licensed counselor, so kids can better express what they are experiencing and by whom.
There is nothing humorous about being bullied, but nobody knows this better than the person on the receiving end of this treatment. Remember that bullying only gets worse if not put in check. And, if you notice that your child is depressed for prolonged periods of time contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-(800)-273-TALK (8255); you just may save your child’s life.