Joseph D. Irish LCSW-R
Bullying exists in many forms which affect people physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Bullying is when a person or group of people use intimidation, insults or violence to make another individual feel scared or inferior. The views and beliefs about bullying have changed. Years ago it used to be considered as not a danger to the victim and that it would help children learn how to “toughen up.” Now bullying is considered a health issue as well as a threat. Bullying is no longer considered just a school age problem. It can continue or start for people at high school age, college age or even as an adult. More recently the awareness of bullying has brought the belief is that bullying affects the victim, the bystanders as well as bully in negative ways. If we don’t make an effort to end this epidemic it will continue to get worse. In recent years bullying has become noted as not only a social issue but a health issue because of the effects. Bullying used to be just considered a problem for children in school, but that is not the case. Bullying is a problem throughout the world, affecting children in school, young adults in college and adults in the workplace. For young children, bullying can consist of being excluded in sport or games, being “picked on” for being different or violence to different extents. The victims could be a target because of many reasons such as wearing glasses, being too thin, being overweight, being shy, and the list can go on. They become a target because the bully sees them as vulnerable (an easy target for a child). Bullying of children was overlooked because it was considered harmless. Now it has been show that bullying not only can have a physical affect but a long lasting emotional affect. Victims of bullying can be physically injured but there are more affects than physical. Children who are bullied may end up suffering from anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping and eating disorders. Many times they will lose interest in school and activities and grades will go down. Rarely, but still possible, some become violent and take extreme measures. Although many steps have been taken to help solve this issue more needs to be done about it. Children who are the actual bully may behave this way for various reasons. Some are victims of abuse at home, some have low self-esteem and some bully out of peer pressure because the victim may be considered different. Those who are victims of abuse at home may lash out and find a victim of their own to act out their own pain, or take their own form of control. It can be a way for them to reach out for help so as people become more aware of the problem, it may help the victim as well as the bully who is a victim themselves. Sometimes children who have low self-esteem or a form or a disability they want to hide keep themselves from becoming victims of bullying by becoming the bully or a follower of the bully. The peer pressure bullies sometime behave this way because they want to fit it. They think that if they make someone else look bad, they will look better. Sadly this has been a part of the growing up process that many children endure. It has been shown that the child bully is also affected by their own behavior. Their behaviors can affect their grades and socialization, and they may become victims of retaliation. A bully is known to use the power they have gained over a victim to gain followers. Sometimes this will work against them, and they will become less liked or popular. This can lead the bully to become more aggressive, depressed or turn to other negative behaviors. As some become older they turn to more self-destructive behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse, skipping school, criminal activities and some, as adults, become abusive in adult relationships or as parents. There is another group of people who is affected by bullying: the...
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