Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Outcomes of Bullying

Bullying has been around for generations and has in the past been viewed as a rite of passage or harmless youthful behavior that makes children stronger or tougher. Now bullying is considered a public health problem that affects as many as 30% of students and has serious negative impacts for the bully and for the victim.

Children who are the targets of bullying have low self-esteem and often endure serious emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety. They cannot concentrate on school work or may decide not to go to school at all.

Research conducted by the National Information Institutes of Health reported that children bullied once a week or more were more vulnerable to poorer health, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and thoughts of suicide than children who were not bullied. Some of these problems last into adulthood.

Young people who bully also experience problems. They are more likely to be involved in other problem behaviors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, and they don’t do as well in school. They are also more likely to engage in criminal activity as adults.

Parents need to be aware of the signs of bullying, which include (but is not limited to) a drop in grades, lack of interest in school, withdrawal from social activities, feeling ill in the morning, has unexplained cuts or bruises, has money missing or “lost,” stops eating, or is bullying other children or siblings.

Schools can be successful in reducing bullying by establishing clear rules against bullying and by increasing adult supervision where bullying usually happens – in cafeterias, bathrooms, hallways, stairwells and school yards.

Parents can make contact with the child’s school or visit the Hillsborough County Bully-buster’s Website for more information at http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/bullybusters/.

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